The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that we have the right to reasonable accommodations in health settings. That can include the right to a supporter. But in response to the current COVID-19 crisis, many hospitals and other health settings have developed restrictive visitor policies. Many of these policies don’t have exceptions for people with disabilities. At the same time, these policies often include exceptions for children, people giving birth, and people at the end of life.
Many states, such as New York, have already come out with policies that recognize our need for supporters in health settings. But not all states have good policies. Without guidance, some health providers aren’t letting us bring the support we need – which violates our rights.
That’s why ASAN teamed up with the Arc, Center for Public Representation, Communication First, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and DREDF to create a guide for policymakers about supporter policies.
This guide explains that we have rights under the ADA. It also talks about important things that supporter policies need to address – like making sure that supporters are allowed for all people with disabilities who need them, and making sure supporters can get protective equipment to help prevent the spread of the virus.
We hope that advocates can use this guide when pushing for better access to supporters in health settings. ASAN and its partners will continue advocating to ensure that we all can get the health care supports we need.
For more information, contact Sam Crane, ASAN’s legal director, at email@example.com.