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NORD Joins Fight to Stop Discrimination During COVID-19 Triaging

Posted on June 2, 2020

NORD, along with more than 400 other organizations, called on the federal government to provide more guidance to health care providers to ensure discrimination laws are enforced during COVID-19 triaging. The patient and advocacy groups are concerned about access to health care resources during the COVID-19 pandemic for patients with underlying medical conditions, including rare diseases.  

The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS issued a bulletin in March 2020 reminding entities covered by civil rights authorities to abide by laws that prohibit discrimination when providing services for COVID-19.

In a letter, NORD and the other patients and advocacy groups, called on the HHS to provide additional guidance to health care workers to guarantee patients are not discriminated against based on disability or age during triage.

“As you are aware, many states and hospitals plan to rely on Crisis Standard of Care plans to inform providers how to make decisions on the allocation and re-allocation of scarce medical resources. Too many of these plans, however, discriminate based on disability and age, devaluing the lives of people with disabilities and older adults. If implemented, they would deny life-saving treatment to people based on disabilities or age that have nothing to do with their ability to benefit from care and survive COVID-19,” the letter read.  

“It is essential that the federal government provide guidance to states and health care providers setting forth clear requirements to ensure that the health care rationing decisions comply with federal nondiscrimination laws,” it continued.

Read the full letter here.

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