Powered for Patients Project Director Eric Cote is serving as a consultant to a CDC-funded project being led by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials that seeks to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments for people with disabilities and increase disaster preparedness and response support for people with disabilities.
The project is being implemented in more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico where CDC-funding has enabled a full-time disability and preparedness specialist to be hired to augment work being done by the state or territory’s public health agency to address the impact of COVID-19 and other disasters on people with disabilities.
Cote’s role in the project is to provide training and support for the disability specialists to help them and their host agencies better address the needs of people with disabilities who depend on electric-powered medical devices in their homes during power outages. Cote is leveraging his expertise in emergency power preparedness to develop innovative approaches to help people with disabilities access sources of emergency power in their community during power outages. (See related Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative). Cote is also developing training resources for the specialists on how to effectively leverage the HHS emPOWER program, an HHS resources that provides federal data, mapping, and artificial intelligence tools, as well as training and resources, to help communities nationwide protect the health of at-risk Medicare beneficiaries, who live independently and rely on any one of 14 electric-powered medical devices or receive certain medical services such as out-patient dialysis, home-based oxygen service, hospice care or other types of home care medical support. Cote is also developing training resources to help specialists engaged with electric utilities in collective power outage planning efforts to support individuals using electric-powered medical devices in their homes.