Sending Office: Morelle, Joseph D.
Sent By:

        Request for Signature(s)


Supported by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Current Signers: Nanette Diaz Barragán, Jahana Hayes, Sean Patrick Maloney, Joe Neguse, Eleanor Holmes Norton, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Jan Schakowsky, Haley M. Stevens, Frederica S. Wilson, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Madeleine Dean, Stephen
F. Lynch, Earl Blumenauer, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Diana DeGette, Bill Keating, Donna Shalala, Paul D. Tonko, Nydia M. Velázquez, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mike Doyle, John B. Larson, Raúl M. Grijalva, Ayanna Pressley, Emanuel Cleaver, Jason Crow, Sharice L. Davids,
Conor Lamb, James R. Langevin

Dear Colleague,

With the growing spread of COVID-19, it has become increasingly difficult for disabled Americans to receive the services they need, including education, medical care, and daily activities. Additionally, people with underlying health conditions or disabilities
are at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19.

Our national public health efforts must include concentrated attention to the needs of people with disabilities and their families, ensuring that life-saving information is accessible to all, that testing is available for those with different needs, and
that best practices in medical care includes consideration for Americans with disabilities.

Please join me in calling on the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take proactive steps to include consideration of disability in all areas of the coronavirus response.

For additional information please contact Maria Oparil in Rep. Joe Morelle’s office at


Joseph D. Morelle
Member of Congress


The Honorable Alex M. Azar
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington DC 20201

Dr. Robert R. Redfield
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30329


Dear Secretary Azar and Doctor Redfield,

As COVID-19 spreads across our communities, response efforts to the emergency need to include the needs of Americans with disabilities and their families. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has continued to place people with
disabilities and underlying health conditions as being at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.[1] The unfolding crisis has illuminated the need for state and national capacity to provide critical
public health and planning information in a variety of accessible formats to people with disabilities and their families. We urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and CDC to include people with disabilities when responding to COVID-19.

Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’ or the ‘‘CARES Act,” Congress appropriated $4.3 billion to CDC for CDC-Wide Activities and Program Support. We ask that any guidance HHS and CDC provide include people with disabilities in your
activities and programs.

CDC’s Disability and Health Promotion Branch currently provides funds to 19 State Disability and Health Programs under the cooperative agreement CDC-RFA-DD16-1603: Improving the Health of People with Mobility Limitations and Intellectual Disabilities through
State-based Public Health Programs. These State Disability and Health Programs work to improve the health and quality of life among people with mobility limitations and/or intellectual disabilities (ID) through adaptation and implementation of evidence-based
strategies in their communities.

Regulatory guidance to these already existing programs will enhance and expand the work being in done in states to address the health needs of people with disabilities.

Our letter comes to you at a time in which we recognize that the COVID-19 outbreak is placing mounting strain on our nation’s healthcare system. Please be proactive rather than reactive in notifying and supporting states and territories to meet the needs
of people with disabilities impacted by this crisis.

Thank you for all your Department is doing during this healthcare crisis. 


Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Civil Rights, HealthCare

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