By Nancy G. Holman
PARSONS, Kan. - People with disabilities are at higher risk for catching the Corona virus, but their risk may be even higher for being discriminated against when seeking medical treatment for the virus in Kansas, said Shari Coatney, President/CEO of the SKIL Resource Center.
“Based upon the guidance recently released by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) in their “Toolkit for COVID-19” of February 28, 2020, disabled people in Kansas will be subject to medical treatment rationing protocols, including rationing ventilators that can save their lives,” Coatney said.
On March 27, 2020 the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, Topeka Independent Living Resource Center, Inc. and Tessa Goupil, a 49-year-old disabled mother who uses a ventilator, filed a discrimination complaint against the State of Kansas with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, alleging discrimination of federal law regarding the guidance protocols, said Coatney.
“Some of our disabled citizens seeking medical treatment in Kansas would lose their lives if this was enforced,” she said. “Even though KDHE has pulled this horrific discriminatory protocol from their website, it was already sent out to medical and healthcare facilities. The fact is, if they don’t send out a formal notification, the medical and healthcare facilities will not know that it has been withdrawn.”
“Because of this deeply flawed guidance protocol, people’s lives are at even bigger risk than from the virus,” Coatney said. “Such blatant and cruel discrimination, especially during a time the entire world is experiencing the deadly Corona virus pandemic, is enormously frightening and absolutely inhumane and illegal.”
“It’s a dangerous world we live in, when we start trying to put one person’s life above another based upon any type of classification,” she said. “I have many customers who have disabilities, and also co-workers and friends. The State of Kansas must value the lives of all people.”
View the Complaint online at: https://www.centerforpublicrep.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Kansas-OCR-complaint-3.27.20-final.pdf
SKIL is a multi-faceted center for independent living that serves all people with disabilities, or those whose environment is disabling. Headquartered in Parsons, SKIL has branch offices in Chanute, Columbus, Fredonia, Independence, Pittsburg and Sedan.
For more information, call Parsons SKIL at 1-800-688-5616 or contact any SKIL office. On the web at: www.skilonline.com .