The Center for Transitional Living (CTL), a home health care service with offices in Norwalk, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing a state Medicaid contractor of discriminatory conduct.
According to the suit, CTL “has been deprived of its rights to equal protection of the law guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution” by the contractor, Advanced Behavioral Health Inc. (ABH) of Middletown.
“Defendants intentionally discriminated against CTL and its employees on the basis of race,” the suit, which also charges ABH with violating the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, says.
ABH stands accused of forwarding to CTL”discriminatory requests by Medicaid home health care recipients not to send staff (to the homes of clients) of particular races and/or national origins.”
When CTL – which is owned by partners Andy Tran, who is of Asian descent, and Jeff Farmer, who is of African American descent – refused those requests, ABH refused to refer a number of prospective clients to it, according to the suit.
Filed in U.S. District Court, the suit also names as defendants the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) and the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).
Included in the allegations are instances where ABH allegedly emailed CTL “that its client required ‘Caucasian staff’ to assist with cleaning, household chores, and transportation, among other things”; that ABH referred a client to CTL with the note that the client “will not work with any staff that have strong accents, cannot speak English or are African-American’,” and that “ABH sent two referrals to CTL and specified that one client was ‘seeking a Caucasian female’ and the second client required a female staff member with ‘no accent’.”
The suit requests a jury trial, unspecified financial damages and fees, and a permanent injunction against discriminatory conduct “with respect to referrals for Medicaid services.”
None of the defendants have commented on the lawsuit.