Life Care Centers to adopt service animal policy following ADA complaint

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Life Care Centers of America will be implementing a new service animal policy across its more than 200 long-term care facilities following a settlement of service animal-related complaint, authorities announced Friday.

The settlement stems from a complaint filed against Life Care Center of Hickory Woods in Antioch, TN, by a patient who was receiving physical therapy services at the location. The patient, who has a service dog for assistance in the event that she has a seizure, said she was confronted by employees about having the dog in the facility. The patient also claimed employees demanded the dog's vaccination records, and discouraged her from bringing the dog to appointments.

The patient filed an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint alleging Life Care Centers didn't give her and other individuals who rely on service animals equal access to physical therapy services.

A request for comment from Life Care Centers was not returned by production deadline Monday.

Life Care Center of Hickory Woods will pay $12,000 to settle the complaint, as well as adopt a written service animal policy, train employees on that policy and post a sign stating that service animals are welcome. Life Care Centers nationally will distribute and maintain a new service animal policy across its facilities that will agree to make reasonable modifications to permit and welcome service animals into its facilities, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.