Operators mull bankruptcy as a hedge against lawsuits

A Virginia skilled nursing provider accused of denying a resident admission because she was deaf has settled a federal disability lawsuit for $90,000, the Department of Justice announced this week. 

The allegations were brought against the Brookside Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a 130-bed nursing home in Warrenton, VA, and its managers Abraham A. Gutnicki and Judy Kushner. The case stems from claims that Brookside denied admission to an individual who is deaf because she would have needed sign language interpreting services, which is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Gutnicki is part owner of Warrenton Operations, LLC, which manages the facility, while Kushner is an executive there, according to federal data. A request for comment left by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News with the facility was not returned by production deadline.  

The provider agreed to pay $40,000 to the resident and a $50,000 civil penalty to settle the allegations, according to the Eastern District of Virginia’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. The facility also must adopt new ADA policies to ensure services are accessible to invidious with communication disabilities, designate an ADA administrator, enter into an agreement with sign language interpreting service process and train staff on ADA effective communication requirements. 

The new ADA policies must also be adopted by the other eight facilities in New Jersey, Michigan and Virginia managed by Gutnicki and Kushner under the settlement agreement, according to federal authorities.