DRO Continues Fight Against Care Rationing Because #AdvocacyMatters

May 15, 2020 / COVID-19


Like so many others, Disability Rights Ohio is apprehensive as Ohio begins to “reopen” amidst the ongoing health crisis created by COVID-19. We don’t yet know how lifting stay at home measures will impact both the outbreak here and the potential need for acute care across the state. With this in mind, DRO has remained focused on ensuring people with disabilities are protected from discrimination and have equal access to health care.

In early April, we partnered with a number of state advocacy organizations to reach out to Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Action, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, offering to work with the state to effectively implement policies that protect our most vulnerable citizens from unfair and illegal rationing protocols. We are pleased to share that our advocacy (read the letter here) and ongoing collaborations with other partner advocacy organizations has had a direct impact.

Last week, the state issued guidance for “Standards of Care for Vulnerable Populations.” You can read the guidance here. This guidance represents a solid foundation. But to protect people with disabilities from discrimination, we need more. Thus, DRO and its partners continue to advocate for more clarity and measures that are even more specific.  

We believe the State’s guidance should contain a strong statement prohibiting categorical exclusion criteria based solely on diagnosis or condition in hospital rationing care protocols. And that the state’s guidance should warn against language in hospital protocols that prioritize “young” or “healthy” patients over those who are “older,” “sicker” or who tend to have disabilities.

On Monday, we expressed our concerns in a call with staff from the Ohio Department of Health. Today, we followed up with a letter detailing how we think these concerns can be specifically addressed.  You can read that letter here. We remain hopeful that by openly communicating with the state and advocating alongside our partners, further guidance will be issued that protects all Ohioans. The stakes are simply too high to not get this right. And at this time of unprecedented crisis, #AdvocacyMatters more than ever.

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