Operator of 21 skilled nursing facilities in Massachusetts resolves allegations that it turned patients away from opioid use disorder medications


BOSTON — The United States Attorney’s Office has reached an agreement with Next Step Healthcare, LLC, the operator of 21 skilled nursing facilities in Massachusetts, to resolve allegations that Next Step violated U.S. nursing law. people with disabilities by refusing patients who indicated that they had been prescribed opioid medication. Use Disorder.

“No one would ever choose to have a substance use disorder. The destruction this disease inflicts on its victims is unconscionable. When people finally find the strength and courage to be open to recovery, they must be greeted with support and understanding, not discrimination and barriers to health care,” said U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins. “As our Commonwealth continues to grapple with an opioid epidemic, this office will ensure that people who receive MOUD have access to the health care they are legally entitled to and often need. We appreciate Next Step’s cooperation in changing its policies and practices to comply with the ADA, and we strongly encourage other skilled nursing facilities to proactively do the same.

People receiving treatment for an opioid use disorder are generally considered disabled under the ADA, which, among other things, prohibits private health care providers from discriminating on the basis of disability. The United States alleges that Next Step denied admission to 548 individuals who indicated that they were prescribed MOUD while seeking admission to Next Step’s programs. These people asked to be admitted to the facilities for health problems unrelated to their addiction, but also asked the MOUD to treat their OUD.

Under the terms of the agreement, Next Step will, among other things, adopt a non-discrimination policy regarding the provision of services to people with disabilities, including people with SUD or people under MOUD, provide training on related discrimination to Disability and SUD to Admissions Staff, pay a civil penalty of $92,383 to the United States, of which $10,000 will be paid now and $82,393 will be suspended and waived if Next Step materially complies with the terms of the agreement .

This is the United States Attorney’s Office’s 10th settlement agreement with a qualified nursing facility operator. The Bureau has now entered into 16 settlement agreements and six resolution letters to ensure ADA compliance stemming from OUD processing. The District of Massachusetts is leading the nation in this important type of work and will continue to champion the ADA and support people with substance use disorders.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Leung, Gregory Dorchak, and Annapurna Balakrishna of Rollins’ Civil Division handled the case.

Next Step Healthcare has the following locations in Massachusetts.

Attleboro Health
27 George Street
Attleboro, MA 02703

Braintree Manor Healthcare
1102 Washington Street
Braintree, MA 02184

Chetwynde Health
1650 Washington Street
West Newton, MA 02465

Dedham Health
1007 East Street
Dedham, MA 02026

Dexter House Healthcare
120 Main Street
Malden, MA 02148

Fall River Health Care
1748 Highland Ave
Fall River, MA 02720

Health Fitchburg
1199 John Fitch Highway
Fitchburg, MA 01420

Garden Place Health
193 pleasant street
Attleboro, MA 02703

Health Gloucester
272 Washington Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Lee Health
620 Laurel Street
Lee, MA 01238

Melrose Health
40 Martin Street
Melrose, MA 02176

Norwood Health
460 Washington Street
Norwood, MA 02062

Oakhill Health
76 North Street
Middleboro, MA 02346

Plymouth Harbor Waterfront Health Care
19 rue Obery
Plymouth, MA 02360

South Dennis Health Care
1 way of love
South Dennis, MA 02660

Elmhurst Health Care
743 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176

Hermitage health care
383, rue du Moulin
Worcester, MA 01602

Landing at Lake Laurel
600 Laurel Street
Lee, MA 01238

Walpole Health
160 Main Street
Walpole, MA 02081

Wedgemere Health Care
146 Dean Street
Taunton, MA 02780

West Newton Health Care
25 Armory Street
West Newton, MA 02465

Westborough Health Care
8 colonial walk
Westborough, MA 01581


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