Arizona eye surgery centers agree to settle discrimination claim for $1M
Jan 19, 2023, 11:00 AM
PHOENIX – A network of Arizona eye surgery centers has agreed to pay $1 million in restitution and fines to settle a federal discrimination claim, authorities said.
In December 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit accusing Tempe-based Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center of requiring patients with mobility disabilities to hire third-party medical transport and transfer assistance for outpatient surgical procedures.
American Vision Partners, which provides management and training support to Barnet Dulaney Perkins and other ophthalmology practices, is a codefendant in the case.
According to a consent decree filed Tuesday, the defendants agreed to pay $950,000 to patients and prospective patients who were harmed by the discriminatory policies plus a $50,000 civil penalty.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act requires health care providers to offer equal access to their services,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a press release.
“Patients with disabilities must not be denied crucial medical services or forced to pay surcharges because they need transfer assistance.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an 80-year-old woman who has multiple sclerosis and quadriplegia and objected to the policy.
Barnet Dulaney Perkins has more than 20 clinics throughout Arizona, including nine in metro Phoenix.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.