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Michigan ophthalmologist files lawsuit over required age-based screening assessment for cognition

Article

News

According to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, a policy requires Henry Ford Health and Henry Ford Medical Group (HFMG) employees to undergo a screening assessment for cognition when they reach the age of 70, again at age 75 and each year after that.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent the organizations from using the policy and award plaintiffs, including Mogk, back pay and damages for lost earnings for any pay they lost because of the policy. (Image courtesy of Adobe Stock)

The lawsuit seeks to prevent the organizations from using the policy and award plaintiffs, including Mogk, back pay and damages for lost earnings for any pay they lost because of the policy. (Image courtesy of Adobe Stock)

A Henry Ford Health ophthalmologist has filed a lawsuit against the Detroit-area health system over a policy that compels an assessment that is based entirely on age, starting when an employee reaches the age of 70, according to federal court records.1

According to a Detroit Free Press report, the lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Detroit, notes the policy requires Henry Ford Health and Henry Ford Medical Group (HFMG) employees to undergo a screening assessment for cognition when they reach the age of 70, again at age 75 and each year after that. The lawsuit, according to the publication, alleges that the policy also indicates that should additional evaluation be needed, the member will undergo a full evaluation for fitness for the job performed by an independent assessor.

According to the Free Press, Lylas G. Mogk, MD, of Grosse Pointe Park, filed the lawsuit against Henry Ford Health and Henry Ford Medical Group in U.S. District Court in Detroit last month in accordance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act.

Mogk, according to the Henry Ford Health website, serves as the chairperson of the Michigan Commission for Blind Persons, and is a past chairperson of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Vision Rehabilitation Committee. She is an advisor to the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons and often serves as a presenter in a variety of professional and community settings to discuss vision issues.2

The newspaper reported that Mogk, 84, has worked with Henry Ford Health since January 1995, and is the founder and immediate past director of the Henry Ford Center for Vision Rehabilitation and Research. Mogk also is a member of the Henry Ford Medical Group and subject to the group's policy on senior and bioscientific staff fitness for duty, which took effect in 2017, according to the complaint filed in court.1-2

Yale School of Medicine policy

Mogk’s attorneys note in the lawsuit they want to have the suit certified as a class action, pointing out that Mogk had to undergo the assessment in 2018 simply because of her age and “no other reason.”1

According to the newspaper, the lawsuit seeks to prevent the organizations from using the policy and award plaintiffs, including Mogk, back pay and damages for lost earnings for any pay they lost because of the policy.

Detroit attorney John Runyan is representing Mogk, according to the Free Press, and he declined to comment when contacted by the publication. Representatives for Henry Ford Health also declined to comment on pending litigation.

According to the Free Press, a lawsuit was filed by the US Legal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2020 against Yale New Haven Hospital, alleging it enacted a discriminatory policy that required anyone age 70 and older who applied for or sought to renew staff privileges at the hospital take both neuropsychological and eye medical examinations.1

"While Yale New Haven Hospital may claim its policy is well-intentioned, it violates anti-discrimination laws," Jeffrey Burstein, a regional attorney for the EEOC's New York District Office said in the 2020 release announcing that lawsuit. "There are many other non-discriminatory methods already in place to ensure the competence of all of its physicians and other health care providers, regardless of age."1

References

1. Christina Hall. Henry Ford Health doctor sues over age-based screening assessment for cognition. Detroit Free Press. Accessed October 19, 2023. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2023/10/19/henry-ford-health-doctor-sues-age-based-screening/71204891007/

2. Mogk Lylas. www.henryford.com. Accessed October 19, 2023. https://www.henryford.com/physician-directory/m/mogk-lylas#aboutMe

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