Barriers to Medical Care for Disabled People


People with disabilities have similar health care needs as everyone else and must gain access to healthcare disability services Melbourne; yet they face various barriers preventing them from receiving these services.


At times, transportation can be inadequate; architectural accessibility issues hinder access to facilities and providers’ offices or exam rooms; or communication can make things harder for patients to connect with healthcare professionals.


Health Insurance


People with disabilities rely heavily on health insurance coverage. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies cannot turn people with disabilities away or charge higher rates.


People living with disabilities can receive health insurance through either Medicare or Medicaid, depending on their circumstance and disability type. Deciding which plan best meets their needs depends upon factors like income and any existing short-term or long-term disability policies.


Unfortunately, research has revealed that certain populations with disabilities face specific health and health care challenges and issues, including women with disabilities, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, those with blindness or visual impairments and intellectual and developmental disabilities. These problems and issues can interfere with their quality of health care services; furthermore, some providers may hold misconceptions about them that can undermine quality care delivery.


Specialty Care


Specialist health care services may be essential to people with disabilities; however, their availability can often be hindered by structural barriers. These barriers include physical and programmatic accessibility of hospitals, clinics and offices (such as exam and diagnostic equipment); communication barriers like limited availability of interpreters for American Sign Language or other deaf-blind languages; as well as transportation issues.


Women with disabilities tend to get fewer pap smears and mammograms, less preventive cardiovascular disease screening, report fair or poor health status and have limited insurance coverage.


Disability competency isn’t typically part of the core curriculum at many medical, dental and other professional health care training institutions. Federal agencies involved with medical training or loan forgiveness should establish methods to ensure these educational institutions incorporate disability knowledge into their curricula to produce health care practitioners capable of providing culturally competent care to people with disabilities.


Assistive Technology


Assistive technology refers to any device, software program or product system designed to enhance the functional capability of individuals living with disabilities. Examples include communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt as well as high-tech solutions like voice-recognition computers.


Primary barriers to healthcare for disabled individuals have long been acknowledged, yet disabled people face particular obstacles to receiving specialty care, medical equipment, long-term care services, dental and vision care as well as prescription medication. Many lack health insurance while others face cost-sharing obligations or benefit limits under public programs like Medicare or Medicaid.


Many individuals with disabilities often struggle to access assistive technology. Families, regular and special education teachers, service organizations and manufacturers all play a part in providing information on available AT options or helping individuals locate the ideal AT product match. At ATIA we offer live and recorded webinars for family members, educators, service providers and individuals looking for information about AT options available to them.


Long-Term Care


Long term care services provide disabled individuals with services to manage chronic or debilitating illnesses, conditions or injuries in an effective and manageable way. They often include medical and non-medical support such as home health aides, day care programs and rehabilitation services; it may be provided in their home environment, assisted living facilities or nursing homes; they may even need long term care at any age – Medicare does not typically cover this need for long term care needs.


Disabled individuals can reduce the need for long-term care by engaging in healthy lifestyle habits such as eating well, engaging in physical activity regularly and not smoking. They should also consider creating healthcare advance directives.


Disabled people should familiarize themselves with state and federal programs that offer financial aid, such as New York Medicaid which covers medical care, cash assistance and other essentials. Some may even qualify for Marketplace plans which offer lower premium costs.



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