As of February 2022 this page will no longer be updated. Please check the FSACentral Facebook page for COVID news and information.
COVID-19 Information for Self-Advocates in Florida
This information was compiled by Florida Self-Advocates Network'D (FL SAND) to provide self-advocates with basic facts and information about their rights so they are able to participate in decisions about their lives .
Things are changing everyday and there's a lot of information out there. Make sure you are getting your information from trustworthy sources. If you aren't sure, ask for help from a family member or caregiver. Below are easy-to-read and accessible basic information about the virus and how to protect yourself.
Questions About Services & Providers
Direct Support Workers that come into your home for personal care and other vital tasks like shopping are considered "essential workers" during the pandemic. APD is ready to help when/if you encounter problems with your services. Click the first box below for APD's COVID-19 page. In the second box, we've attempted to address the most common and relevant issues.
Vaccine & Other Healthcare Rights
Vaccines for COVID-19 became available in December of 2020 in phased distribution. Everyone 18 or older is eligible to get a vaccine and some children and teenagers can get one of the FDA approved vaccines. Vaccines are now widely available at Publix and other stores with pharmacies like Target, CVS, and Walgreens. Booster shots for all adults are also now available. Click on the links below for more information.
Contact Disability Rights Florida here if you have questions about your legal rights or feel you are being discriminated against at a vaccine site.
Your Healthcare Rights in the age of COVID-19
When people began being hospitalized for COVID-19 last year, the federal government reminded hospitals that discriminating against a patient because they have a disability is against the law! You, your family, and your caregivers must still be prepared to remind doctors and nurses of this if you feel you are being denied the same level of care as someone without a disability. The resources at the links below will help you understand and advocate for your rights!
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Be proactive in speaking to your providers about special needs you have related to the pandemic. You may be able to make changes to your cost plan.
APD is able to pay direct service workers to provide services to clients in the hospital. Providers and clients will have to follow hospital visitation policies unless care is required and lack of provision would be a violation of the ADA. If you are unable to receive necessary services while in the hospital from your provider or another caregiver, please let your support coordinator know and/or contact Disability Rights Florida. This information will help you identify if hospital or provider COVID policies possibly violate the ADA.
APD is doing everything they can to avoid staffing shortages. If you do encounter DSPs who are not able to provide services, contact your support coordinator and/or the APD regional manager in your area.
APD has guidance on its website for acquiring masks and personal protective equipment (PPE). If your provider does not have a mask or other PPE and you feel unsafe, first ask them to review the information on APD's website. If this does not correct the problem, contact your support coordinator and/or the APD regional manager in your area.
Work,Benefits & Financial Advocacy
Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights Bulletin on medical care discrimination based upon disability.
Disability Rights Florida's letter to Governor DeSantis urging action to prevent medical rationing. You can also share this with your medical providers.
Contact Disability Rights Florida here if you have questions about your legal rights or feel you are being discriminated against because of your disability. APD clients can also contact their support coordinator and/or the APD Regional office in their area. Click here for contact information.
Calls & Advocacy Opportunities
Many national advocacy groups are providing tools to address various issues using the social media hashtag #weareessential. Those resources can be accessed here.
As statewide advocacy opportunities present themselves, FL SAND will reach out to its membership via email and on social media. Be sure to check our social media pages regularly.
FL SAND Leadership hosts calls every other Monday at 3:30 PM (Eastern) to update self-advocates on issues related to the pandemic and to answer questions.
Email email@example.com to receive the login/call-in numbers.
We're all in this together and we need each other!
If you have questions, you can reach FL SAND and Florida Self-Advocacy Central at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please share this page with other self-advocates, family members, and disability stakeholders.