would not believe that in 2013, that a private assisted living facility in New
York State would discriminate against a gay man , but that is exactly what
happened to Carl Rizzio, the same gentleman mentioned in my last post dated
March 31, 2013.
Had I not experienced it myself, I would not believe it.
After Carl was accepted as a resident in the memory unit at The Brandywine at
the Savoy Assisted Living Facility in Little Neck, NY , and on the eve of his
admission, he was rejected because he had Hepatitis C in the past.
This is highly unusual; I have never encountered another
assisted living facility that did not admit a resident with Hepatitis C (Carl
was later admitted to another fine facility without any problems). The
Executive Director, Mark Weinberger claims that he did not know that Carl was
gay, as if only gay men develop this illness. I explained to Mr. Weinberger
that Carl was a gay man and he had Hepatitis C in the past, but he was never
HIV Positive, and that he would not be a danger to the other residents in the
memory unit. I referred him to a Department of Health memo on Hepatitis C,
which states the following:
C is caused by the hepatitis C virus ( HCV ). The virus is found in blood and
certain body fluids. It is spread when a person who is not immune comes in
contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person. Hepatitis C is
spread through sharing needles or "works" when "shooting"
drugs, through needle stick or sharps exposures in a health care setting, or
sometimes from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal birth. It is
possible to get hepatitis C from sex, but it is uncommon."
also asked Mr. Weinberger to accept a letter from Carl’s doctor stating very
clearly that it was highly unlikely that Carl would infect anyone in the Memory
Center, unless he mixed blood with another resident. Mark Weinberger refused
Carl admission. He stated that he “did not want a gay man with Hepatitis C in
his facility”, because he had never accepted anyone with Hepatitis C, and he
would have to teach his staff how to deal with it. He also would not accept a
doctor’s note, because the doctor “did not have a crystal ball and could not
give him any guarantees” that Carl would not infect anyone.
is clear that Carl was discriminated against, just like many LGBT individuals
are discriminated against in many facilities across the country. Many
developers are now building facilities that are “LGBT Friendly” and admit LGBT
residents exclusively. That does not mean that Brandywine should get away with
always advise my clients to stay away from facilities that discriminate against
anyone as a matter of policy. Mr. Mark Weinberger, Executive Director at the
Brandywine, should be ashamed of himself. So should the Operators of the
Brandywine chain of assisted living facilities.
not a scientific study, the National Senior Citizens Law Center's"LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities:
Stories from the Field" includes data from 769 adults who completed an online
survey from October 2009 to June 2010. Nearly 300 respondents identified
themselves as LGBT older adults; the rest were family members, friends, legal
and social service providers. Almost all — 89% — predicted that staff would
discriminate against a LGBT older adult. Nearly half (43%) reported 853 overall
instances of mistreatment. Additionally, 24 reported denial of medical
treatment while 93 reported restrictions on visitors.
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