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'We're already seeing rationing' | What's really happening with care for people with disabilities during this pandemic

"We're already seeing what's called health care rationing and we're very concerned that people with disabilities could be put to the back of the line."

ST. LOUIS — It's the story of a revolution.

A new Netflix documentary that follows several young people who attended Camp Jened, a New York camp for people with disabilities who ended up changing the world.

"It was the first documentary film that was shown first night of the Sundance film festival and it got a standing ovation of five minutes," Judy Huemann said.

Huemann's journey is front and center in the documentary and for her, the COVID-19 pandemic feels all too familiar.

"I was 18 months old and I had polio and it's a virus and very similar to what's going on," she said.

During the course of the documentary, Huemann goes from camper to the country's leading advocate for the disabled community.

"In my opinion Mike, Judy is the most influential disability rights leader in the world today, period," said Colleen Starkloff.

Starkloff runs the non-profit Starkloff Disability Institute in St. Louis, which helps people with disabilities participate fully and equally in all aspects of society.

And equality is among her biggest worries for people with disabilities during this pandemic.

"We're already seeing what's called health care rationing and we're very concerned that people with disabilities could be put to the back of the line," she told us.

The documentary is available for screening now and The Starkloff Institute will host a LIVE virtual Q&A with Judy Heumann this Saturday night, as Huemann continues to fight for equality for people with disabilities even during this unprecedented time.

"I think it's very important for people, as much as possible make sure that health care providers understand who we are and the value of our life, "said Heumann.

Resources for people with disabilities

NCD COVID-19 letter to HHS OCR

OCR Issues Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities That Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency


U.S. Dept. of Education Q and A on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

CPR and Partners File Additional Complaints Regarding Illegal Disability Discrimination in Treatment Rationing During COVID-19 Pandemic



No one is focusing on the very real potential of a concurrent disaster (earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, tornado, etc.

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We conducted a phone survey, calling every current and former participants to assess their critical needs and the impact Coronovirus has had on them.

We are working to ensure every participant has a home computer and Internet access so they can stay connected to vital resources – this is critically important for their well-being.

We've begun a weekly virtual meet-up for people with disabilities to convene and talk about a variety of topics including how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting them.

Provided list of critical resources to our participants. It is available on our website, via email, and given over the phone.

All of our programs have now gone to remote platforms so that we can continue to prepare disabled job seekers for the job market once this pandemic is over.

We are enrolling teenagers with disabilities for our DREAM BIG Summer camp, which could become a virtual camp, depending on the status of the pandemic

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