Albany, NY April 7, 2020:
Disability Rights New York (DRNY) has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) against the New York State Department of Health (DOH), because there are no policies from DOH to prevent the discriminatory rationing of health care to people with disabilities.
DRNY is requesting that HHS require DOH to immediately take the necessary steps to ensure that New Yorkers with disabilities have equal access to life saving health care.
The 2015 Ventilator Allocation Guidelines can be used to prevent people with disabilities from obtaining ventilators simply because they have underlying conditions that may intensify symptoms and slow recovery. Hospitals and other medical facilities need clear guidance that such actions would be discriminatory, illegal and actionable.
“Every day we hear from real people with real fears. Our family members, friends and neighbors with disabilities can no longer be ignored, marginalized and treated as expendable in these life and death situations. These are not hypothetical concerns. The guidelines are recommendations and not law. A real policy prohibiting discrimination in the allocation of ventilators and all healthcare must be enacted immediately.” Timothy A. Clune, DRNY Exec. Director.