Thursday, August 20, 2020
Blake E. Reid (University of Colorado), Christian Vogler (Gallaudet University), Zainab Alkebsi (National Association of the Deaf), Telehealth and Telework Accessibility in a Pandemic-Induced Virtual World, U. Colo. L. Rev. Online (Forthcoming, 2020):
This short essay explores one dimension of disability law’s COVID-related “frailty”: how the pandemic has undermined equal access to employment and healthcare for Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing as healthcare and employment migrate toward telehealth and telework activities. This essay’s authors—a clinical law professor; a computer scientist whose research focuses on accessible technology; and a deaf policy attorney for the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States—have collaborated over the past months on detailed advocacy documents aimed at helping deaf and hard of hearing patients and employers navigate the complex new circumstances of telehealth and telework. The essay presents a brief survey of some of the difficult issues the authors have encountered in trying to navigate the legal and technical dimensions of healthcare and workplace accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing Americans in a pandemic-induced virtual world.