The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has filed a request for information on disability discrimination in health and child welfare systems and is considering revising federal regulations to better protect disabled patients.

The agency says it will collect feedback from the public relating to “the provision or withdrawal of life-saving or life-sustaining care.” It is also looking for information on discrimination in the context of organ transplants.

OCR notes some hospitals have disregarded federal antidiscrimination laws and have refused life-saving or life-sustaining treatment to premature or disabled infants because they had a low chance of survival. In some instances, care was denied because healthcare providers believed the infant would have a “quality of life deemed by some to be inadequate,” despite parents’ requests for treatment.

Regarding organ transplants, “discrimination has been driven by a variety of factors,” reads an excerpt from the report:

 Among these, OCR has observed that individuals with disabilities have been denied access to transplantation due to the views of physicians or organ transplant centers regarding their ability to manage the post-operative care needs associated with transplantation. The Department believes this is partly due to failures to consider how individuals with disabilities can manage their post-operative care needs with proper support.

Under Federal disability nondiscrimination law, recipients must consider whether an individual would meet essential eligibility requirements with or without a reasonable modification of policies, practices, or procedures. In this context, assessors who consider only whether individuals can meet post-operative care requirements on their own are failing to comply with the law by failing to consider whether the individual can meet post-operative care with support or other resources. The ability to comply with post-operative care requirements without assistance is highly unlikely to ever be an essential eligibility requirement.

The agency seeks feedback from individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers, disability advocates, healthcare workers, and child welfare agencies on these and other related issues.

Once the request for information is live in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments, Disability Scoop reports.