Many doctors are not informed about the rights of patients with disabilities


Written by Cara Murez
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) – More than 30 years after the enactment of the significant Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many doctors still don’t know how to provide affordable care, a new study reveals.

“Despite the fact that people with disabilities make up 25% of the population, they often face barriers to basic health services such as physical examinations, weight measurement and effective communication with their doctors,” said lead author Dr Lisa Iezzoni of the Mongan Health Institute. for policy research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“In order to achieve fairer care and social justice for patients with disabilities, significant improvements are needed to educate physicians about making health care delivery systems more accessible and adapted,” she said in a hospital statement.

For this study, the researchers examined 714 U.S. doctors in outpatient clinics. Thirty-six percent knew little or nothing about them legal requirements for patients with disabilities. More than 70% did not know who determines the reasonable adjustments needed to provide fair care.

“The lack of knowledge about who makes accommodation decisions raises worrying questions about the quality of health care and fairness,” Iezzoni said.

The survey found that 21% do not know who is required to pay for the requested accommodation, and 68% said they believe they are in danger due to ADA lawsuits.

Previous studies have found that people with mobility problems are examined in a wheelchair instead of being transferred to an examination table, resulting in non-standard care and delayed diagnoses, Iezzoni said.

Patients who are deaf or hard of hearing have reported that doctors often neglect their preference for effective communication, such as a personal sign language interpreter.

“All patients with disabilities should ask the staff of their doctor’s office about meeting their needs and preferences when scheduling an examination,” Iezzoni said. “Physicians should keep this information in electronic health records and always ask at the time of appointment if those needs and preferences have changed.”

Adopted in 1990. ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities, including health care. It requires physicians and patients to work together to determine what reasonable adjustments are needed to ensure affordable and equitable care.

Researchers called for additional training for physicians on the rights of patients with disabilities and their responsibilities under the ADA. They said the training should start at the medical school and be part of the ongoing medical education of doctors.

“Medical schools are currently training students to combat racism, and there should also be training to combat discrimination against people with disabilities, also known as ‘ableism,'” said senior author Eric Campbell, a research scientist at the University of Colorado who studies the care approach. for patients with disabilities.

“Every doctor can expect to see an increasing number of people with disabilities and they need to know how to accommodate them,” Campbell said in a statement.

The findings were released on January 4th Health jobs.

More information

The US Department of Justice has more to say about that The Americans with Disabilities Act.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, press release, January 4, 2022.


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