accessibility

What is the digital divide?

The digital divide, the division between individuals who have access to computers and high-speed internet and those who do not, is still blocking millions of Americans from working and learning at home, a year after COVID-19 forced the nation to operate online.

Read the full story here.

State Policies May Send People with Disabilities to the Back of the Line for Ventilators

Vestavia Hills, Alabama, resident Matthew Foster, who has Down syndrome, holds a sign reading: "I am ventilator worthy! I want the right to live"
Vestavia Hills, Alabama, resident Matthew Foster, who has Down syndrome, worries he could be in the back of the line for a ventilator if he contracts severe COVID-19. Half of states have policies with the type of provisions that advocates say discriminate against people with disabilities. (Photo Courtesy of Susan Ellis)

By Liz Essley Whyte, Center for Public Integrity/The Daily Beast

An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that policies in at least 25 U.S. states have provisions that could de-prioritize health care for people with disabilities if cases of COVID-19 continue to ravage hospitals’ supplies.

Disability advocates have filed formal complaints in several states for their policies on who should get ventilators if hospitals run out. These policies take into account patients’ expected lifespan; need for resources, such as home oxygen; or specific diagnoses, such as dementia. Some policies even permit hospitals to take ventilators away from patients who use them as breathing aids in everyday life, and give the ventilators to other patients.

Twenty-five states have similar provisions in their rationing policies — and many other states either don’t have policies, or aren’t releasing them.

“There is a long history of people with disabilities being devalued by the medical system. That’s why we have civil rights laws,” said disability-rights activist Ari Ne’eman. “We don’t have an exception in our country’s civil rights laws for clinical judgment. We don’t take it on trust.”

Read the full article here: https://publicintegrity.org/health/coronavirus-and-inequality/state-policies-may-send-people-with-disabilities-to-the-back-of-the-line-for-ventilators/

From NCDJ Board Member Amy Silverman: People With Intellectual Disabilities May Be Denied Lifesaving Care Under These Plans as Coronavirus Spreads

A medical assistant and nurse check paperwork during a drive-up COVID-19 screening in Seattle on March 17. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
A medical assistant and nurse check paperwork during a drive-up COVID-19 screening in Seattle on March 17. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

By NCDJ board member Amy Silverman, for ProPublica/Arizona Daily Star

Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that people with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other such conditions will be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country.

As Silverman reports, several disability advocacy organizations filed complaints this week with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking the federal government to clarify provisions of the disaster preparedness plans for the states of Washington and Alabama.

Some state plans — including Alabama’s — make clear that people with cognitive issues are a lower priority for lifesaving treatment. Alabama’s plan reads that “persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support.”

Read the full article here: https://www.propublica.org/article/people-with-intellectual-disabilities-may-be-denied-lifesaving-care-under-these-plans-as-coronavirus-spreads?fbclid=IwAR3p48098GDg_d5LwkvCEblZoPBfrFMcScTYVceoqRDy_Zh_RxnqA27gLg8

NCDJ Board Member Becky Curran Kekula Discusses Facing the Fear of Inclusivity

NCDJ board member Becky Curran Kekula speaks with a TMJ-4 reporter on “The Morning Blend” about inclusive ways to discuss disability.

By “The Morning Blend” show on TMJ-4 Milwaukee

NCDJ board member Becky Curran Kekula appeared on this morning talk show to discuss tips for treating people with disabilities fairly and respectfully. Part of the discussion focused on the fact that since 70% of disabilities are invisible, many people are nervous to either admit they have a disability, or to speak about someone who may have a disability that isn’t immediately apparent.

Also featured are some of Becky’s favorite tips for working remotely — a particularly relevant topic in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch the full segment here: https://www.tmj4.com/shows/the-morning-blend/facing-the-fear-of-inclusivity

Bill Banning Organ Transplant Discrimination Passes Senate

A medical professional carries a human organ for transplant. Courtesy FloridaPolitics.com
A medical professional carries a human organ for transplant. Courtesy FloridaPolitics.com

By A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics

The Florida Senate just unanimously passed a House bill that ensures people with disabilities can receive organ transplants without fear of discrimination.

Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jason Fischer proposed the bill, claiming that transplant facilitators don’t realize that protections against discrimination covered by The Americans with Disabilities Act also applies to them.

Read the full article about House Bill 1179 here: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/322916-organ-transplant-discrim