Delaware lawmakers introduced several bills to codify healthcare and voting provisions of Gov. Carney’s Covid-19 state of emergency executive order. Among the legislation are bills that would ensure that residents can keep their doctors’ appointments via telemedicine and vote by mail in the upcoming elections.
At least 5,800 residents in facilities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have contracted Covid-19 and about 680 have died. Nationwide, 40 percent of intermediate care facilities had been flagged by regulators for failing to meet safety standards for preventing the spread of contagious diseases between 2013–2019.
In a move that disability advocates say sets a national precedent, the U.S. Health Department reached an agreement with the state of Connecticut to allow patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have support people with them in hospitals. Previously, hospitals had enforced no-visitor policies to slow the spread of Covid-19 with no exception for individuals with disabilities who needed assistants.
Following weeks of pressure from lawmakers and disability advocates, the Trump administration announced it would send $15 billion dollars to state Medicaid providers and $10 billion to “safety-net” hospitals that serve a large population of Medicaid beneficiaries. The federal health department has already distributed a majority of funds from the Covid-19 stimulus bill to Medicare providers, which left disability service providers, mental health practices, substance use disorder clinics and other Medicaid-reliant services in a precarious financial situation.
In a profile, CDS Assistive Technology Manager Gail Hamblin, whose son Calvin has Down syndrome and autism, says that her advocacy is driven by a desire to help other families in similar situations. She published a children’s book, “More Alike than Different,” to help those without disabilities understand Down syndrome. She and Calvin also participate in projects and research because increased knowledge about Down syndrome will “make it better for the next family.”