4/17/20 - Message to Providers from Secretary Hou: Guidance Relating to Non-Discrimination in Medical Treatment for COVID-19

Friday, April 17, 2020

Dear Partners,

The mission of the Illinois Department of Human Services is "providing equitable access to social/human services, supports, programs and resources to enhance the lives of all who we serve." It can be challenging to stay true to your mission and values during times of crisis. When we are surrounded by chaos, our foundational beliefs can be challenged. However, our obligation to serve the community never ends - it is heightened in times of emergency.

Now, more than ever, the most vulnerable and marginalized groups we serve need our support. It is our duty to ensure that each person in need of support, care, and comfort can receive services without the worry of being treated differently because of the color of their skin, their disability, or the amount of money they do or do not have. At all times, we have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure we do not discriminate against the people we serve.

Click here to find important guidance, provided jointly by the Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Services, the Department on Aging, the Department of Human Rights, and the Governor's Office, titled "Guidance Relating to Non-Discrimination in Medical Treatment for Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)."

This guidance includes recommendations for healthcare providers to ensure that fairness and equity are incorporated into the delivery of care during this time. Whether it is providing a reasonable accommodation, being conscious of our biases, or reaching out to underrepresented communities, there are many steps we can take to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equitably during this public health emergency.

We will get through this, together, as a community. Every day, I am encouraged by the feedback I receive from our partners and I am confident we will emerge stronger together after this crisis is over.

Thank you,

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS