Updated: Dec 24, 2020

Organizations representing individuals with disabilities, led by the Arc, recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) highlighting the potential for widespread discrimination as health care professionals in the United States develop protocols for rationing life-saving treatment in response to possible COVID-19 resource scarcity.

The complaint urges OCR to take immediate action to investigate such instances and to assist local jurisdictions and providers in developing non-discriminatory protocols that ensure access to life-saving treatments for individuals with disabilities.

As the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) supports the complaint to OCR and will work with disability advocate groups to protect the civil rights and equal access to healthcare for those with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

To help us stay vigilant in this effort, we ask you to let us know if you or someone you know with Down syndrome or other disabilities has had acute health care services or equipment denied or withdrawn, or been given a lower priority for treatment, due to scarce COVID-19 resources.

If you are aware of such discriminatory actions, please email Ashley Helsing, NDSS Director of Government Relations, at

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