Although experts say that people with disabilities are not at greater risk to contract Covid-19 unless they have other high-risk health conditions or are 65 and older, the World Institute on Disability reports that many have critical needs that might be overlooked during this fast-evolving crisis.
Here are questions for reporters covering coronavirus:
- Caregivers: What happens if a person’s personal care aide or caregiver is exposed to the virus and must be quarantined, disrupting the continuity of services? Can local agencies cover staffing needs? Will paid leave plans cover the person who fills in for a caregiver sick with the virus?
- Education: Are districts that have moved classes to online providing assistive technology and access to students with physical and intellectual disabilities?
- Medical care: Are local doctors and clinics using telehealth services and are private insurance and/or Medicaid paying for virtual appointments? (Medicare recently approved such coverage.)
- Transportation: If public transportation is curtailed, what alternative services would be available to provide accessible transportation at a comparable cost?
- Medication: Can people with disabilities receive 90-day supplies of prescribed medication whether they are on Medicaid or private insurance to avoid possible disruptions in supplies?
- Food: If home delivery of groceries or prepared meals at community centers is disrupted, is there a plan to ensure access to food.
For more information:
World Institute on Disability: https://wid.org/2020/03/12/recommendations-for-immediate-covid-19-action/
National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools: https://www.ncsecs.org/news/covid-19-and-students-with-disabilities/
Disability Scoop: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2020/03/18/ed-department-offers-more-special-education-guidance-amid-covid-19/28000/
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: https://www.christopherreeve.org/blog/daily-dose/families-first-coronavirus-response-act
By Susan LoTempio, board member, National Center on Disability and Journalism
Contact Susan on Twitter @slotempio or via email at email@example.com.