CPR Addresses Continued Need for Reasonable Accommodations Following COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) in Massachusetts has brought about uncertainty, concern, and confusion for many people with disabilities.   Protections that were standard in hospitals and health care settings, such as masking, COVID-19 testing, and data collection and reporting are no longer in place. Yet, the virus is still active, and people with disabilities are still vulnerable.     

CPR has engaged on multiple fronts to ensure that the end of the PHE does not result in discrimination against people with disabilities.  First, CPR mobilized several advocacy organizations to join letters to the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (MHA) and the Department of Public Health (DPH).  Noting that people with disabilities have faced significant barriers in accessing healthcare, these letters  emphasized the need for reasonable accommodations in health care settings in order to ensure equal access to the services, benefits and programs offered by MHA member hospitals and other DPH licensed health care settings.  CPR led the group of signatories in a meeting with MHA to request that hospitals explicitly reaffirm their commitment to providing reasonable modifications when necessary to ensure equal access to safe and effective care for people with disabilities.   

Additionally, CPR authored a Reasonable Accommodations Fact Sheet  to inform people with disabilities of their right to request reasonable accommodations in healthcare settings, as well as a sample letter individuals can  use as a guide in requesting accommodations.