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The Arc is pleased with revisions made in the Commonwealth’s Crisis Standards of Care released on April 20. But we still need to work together to address accommodations further with hospitals and/or a limited advisory as in NYS, which focuses on support during hospitalization. The Disability Law Center is coordinating a further effort on this issue.

The revised standards reference accommodations in three different sections. We are sharing this excerpt and along with other recommendations if you find yourselves needing to advocate for accompanying a loved one or friend:

  • Accommodations for communication: Hospitals will ensure access to interpretive services through electronic means or other methods appropriate for the clinical circumstance. For patients who require assistance to communicate effectively, hospitals will make reasonable attempts to use other adaptive methods for communication.”

Based on this and other references in the standards, we continue to recommend:


  • That you obtain a primary care practitioner letter that advises hospital staff of an individual’s need for assistance upon admittance. Note the specific reason – communication to avoid medical error, support to avoid behavioral or emotional condition in unknown setting, etc. Have the letter include: “A reasonable and critically important accommodation for this patient is to have a family member/guardian/ caregiver present during triage and hospital care”

  • This accommodation is in accordance with the Mass Crisis Standards of Care.

  • If you still face barriers, ask to have admitting review your request with higher level chief on duty

  • If this fails, advocate for some type of facetime interview with admitting doctor and nurse on duty; obtain a direct contact email and/or phone # at the hospital

  • We also recommended documenting information that can be useful during admittance  and provide your cellphone to be reached

Thank you to the Baker Administration for the changes. We appreciate the collaboration organized by Center for Public Representation which continues, and the medical and advocacy community established by the CSC health equity Google group. We hope to advocate with our colleagues for some further changes in the long-term, but not during this crisis.


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