Department of Justice Reaches Settlement Agreement with Indiana State Board of Nursing to Address Discrimination Against People With Opioid Use Disorders | Takeover bid

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The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement agreement with the Indiana State Board of Nursing (Board of Nursing) to resolve allegations that it violated title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The settlement agreement ensures that nurses taking medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) can continue to take their medications while participating in the state’s nurse assistance program. ‘Indiana. The program assists in the rehabilitation and monitoring of nurses with substance use disorders, and these nurses often must maintain an active license or have one reinstated. The department previously advised the Board of Nursing of its findings and outlined the corrective actions necessary for the Board of Nursing to address the identified ADA violation. This case was handled jointly by the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

“Indiana cannot deny individuals life-saving drugs, including drugs that treat opioid use disorder, based on stereotypes and misinformation,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said. the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. “Requiring nurses to stop taking prescribed medications as a condition of maintaining a nurse’s license violates the ADA, and not only creates barriers to recovery, but inappropriately limits employment opportunities due to disabilities.”

“The opioid epidemic has had a tremendous impact on professionals and families in all walks of life, and Indiana nurses have the right to seek medically approved treatment for opioid use disorder under federal law,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers of the Southern District of Indiana. “Following the Justice Department’s findings and the parties’ settlement agreement, Indiana must now enact policies to ensure Hoosier nurses will not be forced to choose between recovery and livelihood.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the Board of Nursing will allow nurses to participate in the state’s rehabilitation program while taking medication, including medication to treat OUD, when the medication is prescribed by a licensed practitioner. as part of a medically necessary treatment plan and incorporated into a recovery monitoring agreement. In addition, the Board of Nursing has agreed to revise its written policies to ensure that nurses taking prescribed medications for OUD are not subject to discriminatory conditions or terms. The Nursing Board also agreed to pay a total of $70,000 in damages to the plaintiff and to report periodically on its compliance in the United States.

Methadone and buprenorphine (including the brand names Subutex and Suboxone) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat OUD. According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), methadone and buprenorphine help decrease the effects of physical dependence on opioids. When taken as prescribed, these medications are safe and effective.

The Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Offices, has worked to remove discriminatory barriers to recovery for people who have completed or are participating in treatment for OUD. Through outreach, technical assistance, and enforcement of the ADA, the Civil Rights Division seeks to ensure that those undergoing treatment or recovering can successfully participate in their communities and the workforce. work. For instance:

  • On April 5, 2022, the ministry released tips about protections for people with OUD under the ADA.
  • On March 24, 2022, the department entered into a settlement agreement with the Massachusetts District Court to resolve allegations that its drug court violated the ADA by discriminating against people with OUD.
  • On March 17, 2022, the ministry entered into a settlement agreement with Ready to Work, a Colorado-based employment, housing and social services program for homeless people, resolving allegations that the program denied admission to a person because they were taking medication for the OUD.
  • On February 24, 2022, the ministry filed a court case against the Pennsylvania Unified Court System, alleging that it prohibits or otherwise restricts participants in its forensic surveillance programs from using drugs to treat OUD.

For more information about the ADA, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov. For more information about the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. Complaints about discrimination on the basis of disability can be reported to the Civil Rights Division through the online reporting portal at https://civilrights.justice.gov/.

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