The Ability Center awards Community Partnership Award

Press Staff Writer

        The Ability Center selected the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio (HCNO) for its annual Community Partnership Award, in recognition of a collaborative effort to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
        The award is presented each year to a local organization that works alongside The Ability Center on a specific initiative that positively impacts people with disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, currently around 10% of the world's population, or roughly 650 million people, live with a disability.
        As part of the region’s coordinated COVID-19 response, guidelines were developed for Northwest Ohio’s 32 hospitals to help healthcare providers objectively allocate ventilators and other resources if there are any shortages. The hospitals are members of the Northwest Ohio Healthcare Emergency Management Coalition, which is coordinated by HCNO.
        A coalition task force comprised of physicians, attorneys, ethicists, patient advocates, nurses and other professionals collaborated to develop this guidance to ensure everyone receives the best care possible. The guidance also ensures that any patient care decisions faced by Northwest Ohio’s healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic or other crises are fair and non-discriminatory, not arbitrary.
        Jan Ruma, vice president of HCNO said, “On behalf of our member hospitals, I am honored to accept The Ability Center’s 2020 Community Partnership Award. We have worked with The Ability Center over the years to advocate and address a variety of community health issues, from access to healthcare and transportation to disaster preparedness. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, updated healthcare allocation of scarce resources guidance was needed. A regional task force was formed, and we immediately asked The Ability Center to participate.”
        HNCO was recognized as part of The Ability Center’s annual ADA Seminar. This year, the four-part series is being offered virtually via Zoom and welcomes national experts and local panelists to explore how the disability community has been impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
        Katie Hunt Thomas, Disability Rights Attorney and Director of Advocacy at The Ability Center said. “The Ability Center prides itself on collaborating with partners to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are met. We are lucky to have found a staunch partner in HCNO, which ensured that disability rights were an instrumental piece of its recent guidance to area hospitals on the scarce allocation of resources during this time.”


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