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CPD asks state to uphold disability rights despite COVID-19

JoLynne Lyon

07/31/2020

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The Center for Persons with Disabilities is asking the State of Utah to ensure the rights and needs of people with disabilities who receive services, despite the challenges of COVID-19.

The CPD's position is outlined in its latest policy brief.

The pandemic has highlighted the need for the Settings Rule, according to the statement. But while the rule is needed, the deadline for service providers to comply with it has been delayed twice, most recently because of the public health crisis.

This rule’s intent is to make sure that people with disabilities who receive services can get them in the least restrictive way possible. It emphasizes competitive employment that does not pay less than the minimum wage, and that people with disabilities can make their own choices, have their privacy respected and receive services that are centered on them and make them part of their communities.

As the pandemic continues, people with disabilities continue to live in institutions where they are at higher risk of getting the virus and suffering bad effects from it. Many of those who are not in a facility are not getting the services they need, as staff members haven’t been trained in how to provide those services outside of an institution.

“This has led to further isolation, poverty, and a decline in the health and quality of life for people with disabilities,” the statement reads.

“The USU CPD is concerned that this further delay sends a message to states, service providers, and individuals … that the human rights and key protections outlined in the Settings Rule are not a top priority and can be ignored and set aside when other issues arise.”

 The setting rule was issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2014. Providers were expected to show they were following it by March 2019. That date has been moved twice, most recently to March 2023, in light of the COVID health crisis.

 The CPD policy paper encourages the State of Utah to keep making progress toward following the Settings Rule, even though the compliance date has been moved. 

Read the full text of the brief on our policy page.

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