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HHS rejects disability, age-based medical rationing

  Click here to watch Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, as he joins Shannon Bream on ‘Fox News @ Night.’ “We do have these protections to make sure that illegitimate criteria, especially weighing the relative worth of one person versus another…we owe it to people…to give them clear guidelines so

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Coronavirus Strains Safety Net for People With Disabilities

Damian Gregory worries about the things that have quickly become normal to worry about in the coronavirus era: Is there Clorox at the grocery store this week? When will social distancing end? Will he and his family stay healthy until a vaccine is found? But the 46-year-old consultant and advocate, who has cerebral palsy, says

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Social Distancing May Increase Suicide Risk

(GETTY IMAGES) STRESS CAUSED BY widespread social distancing to blunt the spread of the coronavirus may be creating the unintended consequence of increasing the risk of suicide in the general population, according to new research published in JAMA Psychiatry. The study – “Suicide Mortality and Coronavirus Disease 2019 – A Perfect Storm?” – identifies a

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What Covid-19 has revealed about assisted suicide and euthanasia

There has not been, in living memory, more focus on healthcare, the vital role of doctors, the sacrifices made by nurses, and the wonderful efforts of everyone involved in the sector. Amid the coronavirus crisis, daily heroism, the scale of human loss, and the awful scenes in hospitals underline what is important – and what

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Disabled people like me have always been vulnerable to disease

I keep hearing about how disabled people are panicked over covid-19. As a disabled person, I know this is true… The fear and outrage are real. I was born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular weakness, and have never stood or walked. My respiratory muscles are so weak that the slightest cold could kill me. So

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US suicide rate climbs 35% since 1999, new report finds

  The suicide rate in the United States continues to rise, increasing 35% for almost two decades from 1999 through 2018, according to a new data brief released by the National Center for Health Statistics on Wednesday. The report included mortality data from the center’s National Vital Statistics System. The data showed that the suicide

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Suicide should not be pushed as a solution right now

  In a recent Letter to the Editor (“A good time to take action on end-of-life options,” by Eric J. Ruby, M.D., Taunton Gazette, March 31), the author used the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to urge state legislators to pass the “End of Life Option Act” (H.1926). There is never a good time to

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Dangers of physician assisted suicide

  Regarding the recent letter from Don P. Perez, MD, I must respectfully yet strenuously disagree. His letter opined that in spite of the coronavirus outbreak state legislators must move forward on passing H. 1926 and S. 1208 which would legalize physician assisted suicide (PAS) in Massachusetts. Actually, it is because of the coronavirus outbreak

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Palliative care must be more accessible

  The New York State Legislature should promote skilled end-of-life care rather than focusing on ending life prematurely. The International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care recently published (Journal of Palliative Medicine 2017; 20:8-13) a studied position statement (Journal of Palliative Medicine 2017; 20:8-13). In it they conclude: “No country or state should consider the

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PRAF Commends OCR’s Call for Equity During Pandemic Triage

“We are grateful that the Office of Civil Rights and the Administration heard the call for equity in triage and the allocation of scarce medical resources by issuing guidance reminding states, hospitals, and medical providers that discrimination will not stand. It is unthinkable, however, that the HHS General Counsel could limit the scope of this guidance by

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BULLETIN: Civil Rights, HIPAA, and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  In light of the Public Health Emergency concerning the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing this bulletin to ensure that entities covered by civil rights authorities keep in mind their obligations under laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination

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Legislators need to see our tears

  American democracy is based on the idea that the voices of the people matter.  As legislators struggle with difficult issues, trying to balance the needs of conflicting constituencies and solve complicated problems, they need to hear the perspectives of the people most directly affected. This is why they listen to hour after hour of

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Tom Steffens: Legalizing assisted suicide risks harm to veterans

Rear Adm. Tom Steffens, U.S. Navy (retired) When I was on active duty, one of the key tenets of our Navy SEAL Creed was, “Leave no one behind.” I see this same principle alive across our commonwealth as civil society and our public servants work tirelessly to support our 700,000 veterans every day. Despite that

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State’s assisted suicide bill imperils elder citizens

  In 20 years of working with geriatric patients, I have seen the frightened faces, emaciated and bruised bodies, and the hopelessness of abuse victims. My patients taught me the five types of elder abuse: neglect, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. New York state legislators could create a new category: legally

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