Federal officials are considering recasting the rules to ensure people with disabilities are not discriminated against by medical providers as concerns about unequal access remain.
The US Department of Health’s Civil Rights Bureau is soliciting information about disability discrimination in the health and child care systems.
The move comes when the agency said it is “aware that significant disability discrimination against people with disabilities persists” in the country’s health care system and its child welfare system. In addition to reports of discrimination that have emerged in the course of HHS OCR’s own activities, officials said they heard of problems from researchers, lawyers and disability organizations.
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As a result, HHS OCR is reviewing the existing relevant regulations and considering whether to revise them.
Now the agency is looking for feedback on which updates should be fixed. In particular, officials wanted information on disability discrimination in the context of organ transplants, life-saving or life-sustaining care, suicide prevention and treatment, crisis standards for care, methods of assessing health, child well-being, and the availability of medical aids and accessible medical devices.
HHS OCR said it wants input from people with disabilities, their families, providers, disability attorneys, hospitals, children’s charities, and other stakeholders. In addition to providing information on discrimination, the agency said it wanted to find out about the costs and administrative burden associated with different approaches to solving the problem.
“We believe that people with disabilities should not be discriminated against in essential health and personal services such as organ transplants, suicide prevention, life-saving care and child welfare,” said Roger Severino, director of HHS OCR. “We believe the American public believes that people with disabilities deserve full legal protection, and we seek public input to help us achieve that goal in the most momentous, life-changing contexts.”
As soon as the request for information is published in the Federal Register, the public has 60 days to submit comments.