INDIANA (WEHT) – The Justice Department has entered into a settlement agreement with the Indiana State Board of Nursing (Nursing Board) to resolve claims it violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Indiana may not deny individuals life-saving medications, including medications that treat opioid use disorder, based on stereotypes and misinformation,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Requiring nurses to stop taking prescribed medication as a condition of maintaining a nursing license violates the ADA, and not only creates barriers to recovery, but inappropriately limits employment opportunities based on disability.”
A news release says the settlement agreement makes sure that nurses who take medication to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) can stay on their medication when participating in the Indiana State Nursing Assistance Program. The program assists in rehabilitating and monitoring nurses with substance use disorders, and is often required for these nurses to keep an active license or have one reinstated.
Officials say under the terms of the agreement, the Nursing Board will allow nurses to participate in the states’ 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 Nursing Board has agreed to revise its written polices to guarantee that nurses taking prescribed medications for OUD don’t have to deal with discriminatory conditions or terms. The Nursing Board has also agreed to pay a total of $70,000 in damages and to report periodically on its compliance.
Complaints about disability-based discrimination may be reported to the Civil Rights Division at this website.