Disability rights groups take action against Kansas COVID-19 guidelines

PARSONS, Kan. – As coronavirus cases increase, health providers may be forced to ration out treatment for patients, but disability rights groups like SKIL in parsons are speaking out against a set of guidance protocols passed down from KDHE.

Disability Rights Kansas and other legal advocacy partners filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights saying that Kansas’ ventilator rationing plan discriminates against people with disabilities.

Under the plan, hospitals would take away the ventilators of patients receiving care, including individuals who regularly use their own ventilators.

The plan specifically excludes life-saving treatment for people based on their disability diagnosis. That includes people with “advanced untreatable neuromuscular disease,” people with “advanced or irreversible immunocompromise,” and people with some forms of cancer.

“If we contact the governor and just show an awareness of the issue, and we just demand that they send that retraction to the medical providers, I think this issue can be stopped and we won’t have the discrimination. I don’t think it’s in the heart of others to discriminate, but I think it’s a time when we are having to make tough decisions and so we need to give the guidance that is acceptable,” said Shari Coatney, SKIL President.

Coatney is asking people to reach out to Governor Laura Kelly’s office to speak out against the current set of guidelines.