A few weeks ago, we wrote how the state’s proposed emergency plans for hospitals put people with disabilities at the back of the line for life-saving care. This is a violation of civil rights. So DRNC filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to report this discrimination. We are still waiting for OCR to make a decision regarding NC’s plan. Yesterday, a timely article published in Cardinal Pines underscores the fact that people of color and/or with disabilities (including age-related disabilities) are at higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19. This disproportionate impact has roots in systemic health disparities and economic marginalization. The state’s proposed emergency plan for hospitals puts all of these groups at serious risk of exclusion from life-saving care.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise in our state, Disability Rights North Carolina reaffirms that we will continue to fight for an emergency plan that does not violate civil rights. Along with our allies, we will work to ensure that medical resources are allocated equitably in the event of shortages. Access to life-saving care must be based on likelihood to survive COVID-19. It should not be based on extraneous factors that open the door to the kinds of rampant discrimination these disadvantaged populations have long experienced from medical systems.