Many people with disabilities are at greater risk from the COVID-19 virus due to our underlying medical conditions. We are also at greater risk of being denied treatment should hospitals fill to capacity and beyond. There has been much talk of rationing care in the news and social media recently which is frightening, but denying medical care to a patient based on their disability is a violation of the ADA. Now more than ever it is critical that members of our community know what our rights are so that we and our families can assert them.
Here are a few resources:
- NEW: Guidance Relating to Non-Discrimination in Medical Treatment for Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) from Governor Gavin Newsom, California Department of Health Care Services, California Department of Public Health, and the Department of Managed Health Care.
- NEW: Applying HHS’s Guidance for States and Health Care Providers on Avoiding Disability-Based Discrimination in Treatment Rationing
- An English and Spanish fact sheet to print or save on your cell phone to take with you if you go to the hospital seeking treatment:
If You or Someone You Know is Disabled: Know Your Rights to Medical Care – COVID-19 / Si Usted o Alguien a Quien Conoce está Discapacitado Conozca sus Derechos – COVID-19
- A brief NPR story on the HHS Office of Civil Rights bulletin demanding that the civil rights of people with disabilities be respected when they seek treatment for COVID-19.
NEW: What can people with I/DD and their families and advocates do now to help make sure the news reaches the front-line providers? Here are some possible steps:
- Call your local health departments. Ask them to contact the health care providers and reemphasize the state’s joint bulletin. Email it to the health department if they don’t have it.
- Call your local hospitals and clinics with the same request.
- Work with your local new media to publicize the state and federal guidances and your advocacy efforts.