A broad and growing statewide coalition of 37 advocacy organizations in Connecticut is calling on the Lamont Administration to take formal action immediately to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities, older adults, and Black, brown, indigenous and Asian people are protected from discrimination amidst the continuing COVID-19 public health crisis. Disability Rights CT and members of the coalition urged the Department of Public Health to end its almost year long refusal to issue essential uniform guidance to all Connecticut hospitals regarding protections to prevent discrimination in the event of any necessary rationing of life-sustaining treatments, and urged state legislators and the public to speak out to encourage the issuance of uniform guidance.
With no action taken in Connecticut, several hospitals issued their own highly problematic guidelines, which effectively discriminated against people with disabilities, older adults, and Black, brown, indigenous and Asian people (e.g., applying tests of likely survival for five years after discharge, a test directly discriminating against older people and people of color with inherently shorter lifespans), triggering broader involvement by other advocacy organizations.
“We have been imploring the state for nearly a year to get ahead of this, to put guidelines in place to prevent discriminatory practices should rationing of care become necessary. Their stubborn refusal to do so is unconscionable, even more so as the numbers continue to climb. There should be one uniform statewide policy. Period. It is long past time for the state to step up and act to prevent discriminatory practices,” said Stephen Byers, attorney with Disability Rights Connecticut.