UPDATES AND RESOURCES (updates regularly)
Issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be at the forefront of the work we are doing at DRNC. Here are some highlights from this week:
DRNC filed a complaint with the office of civil rights on May 5th to report discrimination in North Carolina’s scarce resource protocol. This protocol will be used by doctors and hospitals to determine who will get life-saving medical care if medical supplies run low.
DRNC has put out several statements expressing our concerns about issues that are significantly impacting North Carolinians with disabilities:
Caregivers as a reasonable accommodation to hospital restricted visitor policies
Staggering death toll in NC institutions and facilities
Organizational Representative Payees and Beneficiary Stimulus Money
Nursing Home Residents, Medicaid, and Stimulus Checks: What You Need to Know -“The money you are issued belongs to you, not the nursing home. This is true even if the Medicaid pays for your care.” (Created by the National Center on Law and Elder Rights).
In our latest episode of “Legal Issues Unpacked,” Tori Ekstrand talks with DRNC special education attorney Ginny Fogg!
Be sure to check out the new COVID-19 fact sheets. They contain information on a bunch of issues and explain what you need to know to advocate for yourself or a loved one during this pandemic.
We have a new website! The redesigned website will launch on May 20. Thank you for your patience as we transition to the new site.
Visit our new COVID-19 page to learn more about our recent advocacy efforts, and to see all our new materials.
Scroll down for previous updates and resources.
Please let us know if you have trouble accessing information on external websites. We will be happy to make that information accessible to you.
- Information on protecting your rights during COVID-19.
- Information for people with disabilities and/or who are high-risk:
- Information about the novel coronavirus and long-term care facilities:
- Resources to help with overall health and anxiety:
- Library of ASL videos from the CDC on COVID-19.
With many questions surrounding the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, the Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has provided two informational videos that are ASL/captioned.
- What’s COVID-19: https://youtu.be/ZvzDRwARoYg
- Self-care during COVID-19 outbreak: https://youtu.be/ooBRqfZjKhQ
- Education Resources
Supporting Students with Disabilities in Remote Learning
Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain times
DRNC has a new education fact sheet: Remote IEP Meetings: Tips for Parents. Find out what you can do to make the most of these meetings.
We have a new video series: “Legal Issues Unpacked.” Dive deep into important advocacy issues raised by COVID-19 with DRNC attorneys and UNC Associate Professor of journalism, Tori Ekstrand. You won’t hear this information anywhere else! Episodes 1 and 2 are now available.
During the COVID-19 pandemic you should do everything you can to stay out of a hospital, but if you have no choice, BE PREPARED for business not as usual! This checklist by June Kailes may help: Preparing for Hospitalization During COVID-19 Pandemic: A Checklist for People with Disabilities.
The NW ADA Center put together guidelines for “Accessibility at Drive Through Test Sites.”
NC Medicaid announced increased flexibility has been approved for home and community-based waiver services during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For a list of the changes, visit DHHS’ Special Bulletin.
Check out the first fact sheet in our easy-to-read new series: “Know Your Rights”. In “Medical Care during COVID-19,” learn what kinds of things you can ask for if you need to go to the hospital.
Did you know if you have IDD and need to go to the hospital, you can bring a parent or support person with you? Here are some resources to help you advocate for yourself:
- This is a letter that the Arc of NC created to give to medical providers to bring with you when you go.
- Use this form to report your disabilities to physicians if you need to go to a hospital to be treated for COVID-19.
Local meal distribution sites are serving children across North Carolina. Text “FOODNC” to 877-877 in both English. For the Spanish-language version, text “COMIDA” to 877-877
Our education attorneys created a fact sheet to answer your questions about accessing special education during COVID-19. Check out the fact sheet and other education resources.
Looking for information on protecting your rights during COVID-19? We have you covered. Visit COVID-19: Protect your rights to get more information about specific topics. We will be adding to this list, and updating resources and information regularly. Coming soon: What you need to know about special education during COVID-19.
Our Prisons and Jails team has been hard at work monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 in prisons and jails. Check out our latest post in the Op-Ed room for more information this important topic and why overcrowding in jails is so dangerous, not just for inmates but for the surrounding communities as well.
As more people get sick in other states and resources dwindle, there have been reports of increased discrimination towards people with disabilities in health care. DRNC is working to keep discrimination on the basis of disability out of state crisis plans. We also know that implicit bias exists and need your help protecting the rights of North Carolinians with disabilities.
Please contact us if you experience or see any of the following:
- Denial of testing or treatment for COVID-19 on the basis of a disability
- Denial of medical attention, access to scarce resources, or discrimination in a healthcare setting because of a disability
- Denial of a ventilator because of a disability
- Medical decisions being made on the basis of a person’s disability, rather than their ability to survive COVID-19 with intervention
Investigations and Monitoring (I&M) Update: DRNC’s I&M Team is leading DRNC’s efforts to ensure that people with disabilities who live in facilities stay safe and their rights are protected during the COVID-19 crisis. We are using phone, email and video calls to connect with service providers and people with disabilities in facilities. We are focusing especially on facilities with reported cases of COVID-19. The safety of all involved is important to us! We hope that the community will reach out to us with concerns. Please contact us if you live, work, or have a loved one in a facility, and see or experience problems related to COVID-19.
DRNC’s education team compiled a list of resources for supporting students with disabilities in distance learning.
For concerns about your child’s rights, contact our intake team by using our online intake form or call toll free (within NC): 1-877-235-4210.
Governor Roy Cooper announced NC 2-1-1 by United Way of North Carolina as a resource for people to call for assistance related to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
North Carolinians can text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and updates about COVID-19. Sign up now to get regular alerts on the rapidly evolving situation and North Carolina’s response.
NC 2-1-1 can refer callers to the organizations in their local community best equipped to address their specific health and human services needs including food, shelter, energy assistance, housing, parenting resources, health care, employment, substance abuse treatment, as well as specific resources for older adults and for persons with disabilities, and much more. Simply dial 2-1-1 or TTY 888-892-1162 for assistance.
DRNC is very concerned about the rights of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are here to ensure and protect the health, safety and legal rights of people with disabilities. Contact us if you need help protecting your rights.
WRAL is providing updates specific to NC. The governor’s most recent announcement includes information about unemployment benefits and closures in NC: https://www.wral.com/live-nc-coronavirus-updates/19015560/
New guidance from the CDC recommends avoiding groups of 10 or more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/index.html
Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) is moving to temporary virtual office status and implementing a social distancing policy, to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our clients and communities healthy. This means that our staff will remain hard at work advocating for people with disabilities, but will not be reporting to the office, and will attend most or all meetings by videoconference or telephone. Our virtual office will be in effect from March 16-27, after which we will decide if we need to continue the policy.
DRNC’s phone line will be open during regular business hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Our staff will persist in providing client services and responding to calls and emails during this time. We are committed to continuing our vigorous efforts to advance DRNC’s critical mission and our important work advocating with and for our clients. We hope you will join us in taking care to keep yourselves and others safe, and in recognizing that many people will be in need of assistance during this difficult time.
The Our Voices Tour 2020 events scheduled for Greenville (March 20) and Wilmington (March 24) have been suspended due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns.
In light of recommendations regarding large gatherings issued by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, DRNC has decided to postpone our disability advocacy conference previously scheduled for April 30. We want to do our part to keep the community safe and stop the spread of this disease. We are coordinating with the venue and keynote speaker Judith Heumann, and will announce a new date soon.