On February 1, 2021, CPR provided written testimony as part of a public hearing convened by the Massachusetts Health Equity Task Force. The Task Force is charged with recommending short and long term responses to health inequality in the Commonwealth. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp relief the historical and ongoing inequities which undermine equal access to health care in Massachusetts. Among these is the ableism that leads to the devaluing and discriminatory exclusion of people with disabilities, and the structural racism that continues to disenfranchise communities of color.
In order to dismantle barriers to health care, and to redress these harms going forward, the Center offered short and long term recommendations including: implementation and enforcement of nondiscriminatory crisis standards of care; requirements for competency-based training in implicit bias, accessible vaccine education, outreach and distribution strategies; prioritization of vulnerable communities hardest hit by the virus; enhanced data collection and monitoring; investment in programs addressing social determinants of health; the inclusion of disabled people and communities of color in health care policy and planning; and the equitable distribution of health care resources, including adequate funding of local public health departments.