COVID-19 continues to spread, and hospitals across the state are close to rationing the care patients receive. In response, the Disability Law Center (DLC) has launched a statewide effort to provide resources and education to patients who face the threat of being denied care.
“Clearly, our healthcare system is being overwhelmed by the pandemic, and it is likely that difficult decisions regarding care are being made today,” said DLC Executive Director Adina Zahradnikova. “Rationing human life on the basis of disability is not only illegal and immoral, it is simply unacceptable. So we are taking action.”
In an effort to educate those facing care rationing, the DLC has launched a designated hotline to connect with people who feel they may have been denied care already, which can be reached at 801-692-3497. In addition, the DLC has begun a coordinated public outreach campaign, providing an overview of the protections patients have under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights statutes.
The DLC will also be partnering with the Utah Parent Center to hold a free virtual webinar open to both potential patients and health care professionals, discussing the protections patients with disabilities have when being considered for care rationing. The event will be held via Zoom on Thursday, December 17, 2020 from 2:00PM-3:00 PM. Details for the event and to find out how to join, visit our COVID-19 Resource webpage at www.disabilitylawcenter.org/covid-19.
This continues the many efforts the DLC has made since August, when they resolved a complaint against the State regarding Utah’s Crisis Standards of Care (CSC). The complaint alleged the CSCs illegally excluded people with disabilities from accessing life-saving treatment such as ventilators, and deprioritized others based on their disabilities. “While we are relieved that the Standards of Care were updated to prevent illegal discrimination on the basis of age or disability, we are concerned that such discrimination could soon become a reality in many of Utah’s hospitals,” Zahradnikova added.
In a letter to Governor Herbert this November, the DLC further urged the State to provide all of Utah’s medical providers with the training needed to implement the revised CSCs, and expressed eagerness to assist in providing resources to hospitals and providers. The DLC remains concerned that without clear and unequivocal guidance and education from the State, some medical personnel may be unclear as to what iteration of the CSCs to follow.
Disability Law Center
o. (801) 363-1347 / (801) 508-4682