Industry News

Health Care Providers Face Consequences for Discriminating Against HIV-Positive Patients

Jennifer Kirchner | August 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Departmental Appeals Board (Board) terminated a California surgeon’s participation in the Medicaid program after the surgeon was found to have intentionally discriminated against an HIV-positive patient.  The surgeon failed to come into voluntary compliance after the HHS Office for Civil Rights issued a violation letter of findings, leading to an enforcement action before the Board.

Additionally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement with Barix Clinics, a bariatric treatment center with locations in Pennsylvania and Michigan, after the clinic refused to perform bariatric surgery on HIV-positive patients.  Barix Clinics was ordered to pay a total of $45,000, to train its staff on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy.

The HHS press release announcing the surgeon’s termination from Medicaid funding for refusing to perform back surgery on an HIV-positive patient is available at:

The DOJ press release related to the settlement against a treatment center for refusing to perform bariatric surgery on an HIV-positive patient is available at:

Department of Justice.  “Justice Department Settles with Bariatric Clinic in Michigan and Pennsylvania Over HIV Discrimination.”  Justice News.  26 Jul. 2013.

Department of Health and Human Services.  “Surgeon Who Discriminated Against HIV Positive Patient Loses Federal Funding.”  News Release.  18 Jul. 2013.

About the Author

Jennifer Kirchner is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin. Ms. Kirchner has expertise in assessing provider compliance with the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law, the False Claims Act, HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules and clinical research laws and regulations.