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SB 1606 Unanimously Passes

Yesterday, Senate Bill 1606 unanimously passed the Oregon Legislature. In a bipartisan effort driven by Sen. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), this bill will protect Oregonians with disabilities who need to be admitted to hospitals during this pandemic.

“All Oregonians deserve advocates, particularly those who cannot advocate for themselves,” says Lois Anderson, ORTL executive director. “We were proud to join this effort to require hospitals to allow admittance of patient-designated advocates during this pandemic.”

“This short session was under extreme pressures, including time,” continued Anderson. “I’m thankful for the hundreds of Oregonians who, on short notice, sent nearly 1,000 emails supporting SB 1606 when we asked them to. I’m grateful our legislators prioritized such a vital issue.”

“During this pandemic, draconian hospital visitor policies have denied Oregonians with disabilities access to the people they trust to facilitate care and assist with disability related needs,” said Senator Gelser in her press release. “Alone in the hospital, they have faced increased pressure to consent to Do Not Resuscitate and Do Not Intubate (DNR/DNI) orders and have been denied accommodations to participate in their own care planning. One patient was even denied a ventilator until Disability Rights Oregon intervened. In the face of such discrimination, many people with disabilities have elected to avoid or delay medical care. Others died alone in the hospital after they did seek care.”

Senate Bill 1606 will go into effect immediately after being signed by the governor, expected next week.

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