Coronavirus Healthcare

Coronavirus Healthcare

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Healthcare

*This page will be updated as more information is made available

Know Your Legal Rights

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws, you cannot be treated badly just because you have a disability or someone in your family has a disability, or because someone thinks you have a disability. You can ask for changes you need for your disability. The hospital and doctors have to help you unless it would be very dangerous or difficult, even with supports. This means:

  • You can get medical care like everybody else. No one can deny you emergency care (like a ventilator) just because of your disability.
  • You can bring a family member or other helper with you unless they are also sick.
  • You can bring a trained assistance animal with you most of the time.
  • You can bring your own stuff like a ventilator or wheelchair.
  • You get good communication. If you are deaf you get ASL interpreting or CART. You can get papers
  • in Braille or large print or in a computer file. You can get information in simple words.
  • You can get information in another language. You can get an interpreter.
  • You get help with follow-up care and services.

People with many different kinds of physical and mental conditions, including higher weight people, have legal rights and are covered by disability laws when they try to get medical care.

If you have a problem with a doctor or hospital during COVID-19, call Disability Rights California (DRC) at 1-800-776-5746 between 9:00 – 4:00. TTY: 1-800-719-5798. After 4:00 & weekends, leave a message or use this form:

Download a printable version of these rights:

Download English & Spanish Know Your Disability Healthcare Rights – CA Edition (PDF)

Download English & Chinese Know Your Disability Healthcare Rights – CA Edition (PDF)


Medical Services: What is covered?

Many health plans, including Medi-Cal plans, are waiving the cost of all medically necessary OVID-19 screening and testing.

Letter from Department of Managed Healthcare to All Full-Service Commercial and Medi-Cal Health Care Service Plans:

Some people have disabilities that makes certain types of COVID-19 testing unsafe. For example, a person with a sensory disability may not be able to tolerate a nasal or oral swab. There are now alternative testing options such as saliva tests. A saliva test allows a person to spit into a tube rather than get their nose or throat swabbed. You can find information about saliva and other types of testing here. At-home saliva collection kits and tests may be available either by prescription or over the counter in a pharmacy or retail store without a prescription.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your options and what type of COVID-19 testing is right for you. If you need a saliva test because of your disability but are told you cannot get one or that is it not a covered benefit, you can call Disability Rights California (DRC) for assistance at 1-800-776-5746. TTY: 1-800-719-5798.


Vendor Services: Will I continue to receive my services and how?

Many people receive services vendored by agencies like the Regional Center, the Department of Rehabilitation, Paratransit, their health care providers, and others.

Now is a good time to plan ahead. Contact your service provider and ask them if they have a plan for service provision. If the vendor does not have a plan, you can also call the vendoring agency to find out what the plan is.

If you are a Regional Center client and your vendor has told you that they will not provide services, please call the Regional Center or your local Clients’ Rights Advocate for more information. For support from DRC’s Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) call: Northern California 1-800-390-7032 (TTY 877-669-6023) Southern California 1-866-833-6712 (TTY 877-669-6023)


IHSS, Personal Assistants, and other Caregivers: What is my plan?

Many people rely on caregivers throughout the week to stay in the community. This is a time when planning is critical. If you do not have an action plan, it is a good idea to develop one.

If you rely on IHSS caregivers, you should speak with your specific caregivers to discuss planning options. If you have questions for your county, please see this page for a list of the county offices:

If you have care services through another vendor agency, please reach out to that agency for more information.

This is also a good time to reach out to your health plan and find out what services are covered and how those services will be covered during a quarantine event or any other emergency.

Emergency Preparedness for Personal Assistant Services Users:


Other services: How will I access meals, medicine, and other essentials?

Many meal delivery services, including Meals on Wheels, Insta Cart, and others are accepting EBT and have enacted “no contact” policies.

Local Areas on Aging have also issued guidance on providing emergency meals to their consumers here:

Many pharmacies are also offering delivery options. Check with your health care provider to determine if your plan will cover medication delivery at this time.

Here is another great resource for how to maximize and use your mobile device during an emergency:

1 Department of Public Health, All Facilities Letter 20-38.1, Visitor Limitations Guidance (May 2, 2020) at

Questions to Ask your Health Plan, Caregiver, IHSS Worker, or Vendor

Sample Questions to ask a Health Plan:

  1. Who do I call for assistance with an urgent illness that does not require a 911 call?
  2. What fees and costs are you waiving during this time?
  3. What equipment can I access through my health plan to keep me safe? (such as masks, etc.)
  4. What kinds of remote services are you offering right now? (for example, are health plans offering expanded phone options, video appointments, etc.?)
  5. What do I need to have my medications or other medical equipment delivered to my home?
  6. If I rely on a caregiver and that person is unavailable, can I access emergency equipment or in-home care as part of my health coverage?

Sample Questions to ask a Personal Assistant, Caregiver, or IHSS Worker:

  1. Will you continue to provide services during a quarantine event?
  2. Which services will you continue to provide during a quarantine event?
  3. If you cannot come, who should I call to make sure I can receive services and am still safe?

Sample Questions to ask a Vendor:

  1. Do you have a plan for how you will provide services during a quarantine event?
  2. Do you have a plan for how to keep your clients safe from illness?
  3. If you are unable to provide services during a quarantine event, what resources do you have to ensure that I continue to receive the support that I need?