Coalition Urges Virginia Governor to Prevent Discrimination Against Patients with Disabilities

RICHMOND, Va. — On Friday, July 17, 2020, CommunicationFIRST joined a coalition of state and national disability groups sent a letter to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam urging him to ensure Virginia hospitals and other health care facilities comply with federal civil rights law and recent guidance from the Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Health and Human Services to ensure patients with communication and other disability-related support needs are able to access the in-person supports they need while receiving medical treatment.

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Significant Victory for Patients with Disabilities in Response to Joint CommunicationFIRST Complaint on Hospital No-Visitor Policies

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, in response to the first federal complaint challenging discriminatory hospital “no-visitor” policies, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced a resolution agreement making clear that federal law requires hospitals and the state agencies overseeing them to modify policies to ensure patients with disabilities can safely access the in-person supports needed to benefit from medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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National COVID-19 Policy Must Ensure Communication Access

CommunicationFIRST today joins eight other national organizations that that work with and advocate for Limited English Proficient (LEP) populations, deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, blind persons, and people who cannot rely on speech to be heard and understood, in a letter to Congress urging it to ensure the federal response to…

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Is Your Hospital Visitor Policy Discriminatory?

We have received multiple calls from around the country about overly restrictive hospital “no-visitor” policies. These policies often allow visitors for patients without disabilities, including infants, children, women giving birth, and those at the end of life, but prevent access to the support people necessary for patients with disabilities.

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CommunicationFIRST Files First Challenge to Hospital Visitor Policies (UPDATED)

Earlier today, CommunicationFIRST, together with Disability Rights Connecticut, the Center for Public Representation, and the Arc of the United States filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) regarding the failure to provide people with disabilities reasonable accommodations to hospital no-visitor policies in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 Communication Rights Toolkit

CommunicationFIRST has prepared a COVID-19 Communication Rights Toolkit, recognizing that our population—people who face significant barriers being understood with speech and accessing effective communication supports in the best of times—is likely to face even greater barriers to accessing our necessary communication supports if we are hospitalized due to a coronavirus infection.

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What Is My Name?

I often wonder if something as basic as my name is so difficult for people to understand, then how are they supposed to understand anything about my personality, my core, the basic essence of my being. How was I supposed to come across as smart, snarky, sexy Melissa Crisp if everyone heard Marissa Crap tumble from my lips?

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