Disability groups file discrimination complaint challenging Kansas' COVID-19 treatment rationing policy change

Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 5:26 PM CDT
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Disability Rights Kansas, Topeka Independent Living Center, Tessa Goupil and other legal advocacy partners have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights in relation to the ventilation rationing plan instituted by the state.

The groups argue the plan in the state's "Toolkit for COVID-19" discriminates against people with disabilities because under the plan, medical professionals would take away the ventilators of patients receiving care, including those who use a ventilator on a regular basis.

“It is completely unacceptable to have the State of Kansas pre-determine the value of the lives of people with disabilities when guiding how life saving equipment and services should be given,and how they can be taken away." said Tessa Goupil, a 49-year-old mother with a neuromuscular disorder who uses a ventilator.

The complaint calls on the Office of Civil Rights to "take immediate action to address this discrimination and assist local jurisdictions and providers to develop non-discriminatory approaches before there are lethal consequences to application of these illegal policies".