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n4a Joins With Aging and Disability Advocates to Urge Guidance Against Health Care Rationing

n4a has joined dozens of aging, disability and patient advocacy groups on multiple letters led by the Alliance for Aging Research and other national aging and disability organizations calling on HHS to ensure that health care providers follow federal nondiscrimination laws when allocating scarce health care resources during COVID-19.

In the letter, advocates urged the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to issue additional guidance that would prevent discrimination based on age, disability or pre-existing condition status in allocating care and treatment for COVID-19. As the coronavirus pandemic has the potential to overwhelm existing health systems, many states and hospitals plan to rely on Crisis Standard of Care plans to inform provider decisions about how to allocate scarce medical resources. Because these plans often prioritize care for healthier, younger patients, they have the potential to discriminate based on age, disability and health status and could deny life-saving care and treatment to certain people suffering from COVID-19. Leadership from the HHS OCR has responded that they are working on additional guidance, but timing is uncertain.

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