ST. LOUIS (CN) - An embattled eating disorder treatment facility will pay $140,000 to settle a claim that it refused service to a woman who is HIV-positive, the ACLU said.
Castlewood Treatment Center, in west St. Louis County, delayed Susan Gibson's 2010 application for months, falsely telling her that a payment agreement was the holdup, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Castlewood then claimed that its license would not allow it to treat people with a blood-borne infection.
The ACLU says that after it got involved the center agreed to admit Gibson if she agreed to have her blood drawn off-site.
Castlewood eventually waived the requirement, but Gibson sought treatment in California instead, according to the ACLU.
The ACLU says Gibson was treated for anorexia as a pre-teen and went to the clinic after a relapse.
Castlewood will pay Gibson $115,000, another $25,000 in civil penalties to the Justice Department and will have to develop an anti-discrimination policy and training program, according to the settlement.
Castlewood denied that it had discriminated against Gibson. It claims that it believed she would receive more appropriate treatment in an in-patient facility because she is HIV-positive.
"Castlewood's sole intent was to assure optimal patient care," a Castlewood spokesman told the Post-Dispatch. "After evaluating all pertinent factors Castlewood's professional staff concluded that Ms. Gibson would receive more appropriate care at an in-patient facility. Castlewood has always and continues to put the interests of those seeking treatment above everything else and does not discriminate in patient care."
Castlewood has been the defendant in four recent lawsuits in St. Louis County Court.
The lawsuits, filed from November 2011 to July 2012, claim that a doctor at the center placed false memories of rape and sexual abuse in patients' memories during treatments for eating disorders. Those cases are pending.
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