The Devastating Impact of Covid-19 on Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in the United States
A cross-sectional study of 64,858,460 patients across 547 health care organizations revealed that having an intellectual disability was the strongest independent risk factor for presenting with a Covid-19 diagnosis and the strongest independent risk factor, other than age, for dying of Covid-19. Screening for Covid-19, care coordination, and vaccination efforts should be intense within this population.
“People with disabilities have been differentially affected by COVID-19 because of three factors: the increased risk of poor outcomes from the disease itself, reduced access to routine health care and rehabilitation, and the adverse social impacts of efforts to mitigate the pandemic.”
The report, The Impact of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities, examines COVID-19’s disproportionate negative impact upon people with disabilities in:
- Accessing healthcare;
- Accessing direct care workers;
- Congregate care settings and transition;
- Effective communication;
- Mental health and suicide prevention services; and,
- The congressional, federal, and state response.
This Policy Brief from the National Council on Disabilities provides rationale for the need of an all-of-government approach to achieve health equity in the United States and our territories for the largest unrecognized minority group in this country, the over 61 million people with disabilities, and sets forth a framework to achieve health equity for all people with disabilities. Disability is a natural part of the human condition, which occurs across all age, gender, racial, ethnic, language and social groups.
This CMS plan (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) focuses on people who experience, or serve those who experience, disproportionately high burdens of disease, worse quality of care and outcomes, and barriers to accessing care. This Framework reinforces the concept that in order to attain the highest level of health for all people, we must give our focused and ongoing attention to address avoidable inequalities and eliminate health and health care disparities.