Discrimination and Bias in State Triage Protocols Toward Populations with Intellectual Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ashley Brooke Felt, Dionne Mitcham, Morgan Hathcock, Raymond Swienton, Curtis Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Individuals with intellectual disabilities face discrimination on a daily basis. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the systemic ableism that is embedded within American culture, particularly through health care bias and discrimination. In turn, this creates further marginalization during diagnosis, triage, and treatment of the novel coronavirus. Multiple states have filed complaints against state triage protocols that suggest an abled life is more worthy than a life with a disability. Although many of these protocols have been updated and replaced, generalized triage statements fail to address health care bias that is embedded within the American system. In addition to the existing solutions, proposed solutions to addressing health care bias include integrating social workers into the emergency management process and the overall disaster management field. To combat bias and ableism across the health care system, a social justice perspective that highlights discrimination, inequalities, and inequities in overall individual care must be adopted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • disabilities
  • discrimination
  • social work
  • triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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