Complaint: Man Denied Admission to Pennsylvania Care Home Due to AIDS
April 17, 2003
A personal care home in Lycoming County, Pa., refused admission to a man with AIDS on the basis that his illness would make staffers "uncomfortable," according to a complaint filed Wednesday.Adapted from:
In the complaint, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania alleges that the 56-year-old man -- who is also legally blind and has heart disease -- is illegally being denied care. "Twenty years into the epidemic, we can't have people so unaware and uneducated about AIDS that they're afraid to provide care," said attorney Ronda Goldfein, the executive director of the Philadelphia-based public interest law firm.
The complaint details how the Loving Care Personal Care Home's administrator told the man's social worker that the home could not accept an AIDS patient "because it would make the staff uncomfortable," said Goldfein. In her attempt to schedule an introductory admissions appointment for the man, the social worker then offered to train the staff about AIDS and infection control but was refused, the complaint stated.
The administrative complaint was filed with the state Department of Public Welfare and the federal Office of Civil Rights and Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Those agencies will now investigate the matter and issue their own findings, Goldfein added.
Identified in the complaint as Mr. Doe, the man remains at home for now. His case manager, Stacy Mitsifer of AIDS Resource in Williamsport, Pa., said that he is struggling to care for himself. "Sometimes these places will say after they find out someone had AIDS, 'I just remembered that I promised that bed to someone else,'" said Mitsifer. "This is a case when we actually had them say, 'We're not taking them because he has AIDS' and so that's why we're able to file the complaint."
04.17.03; Joann Loviglio