Doctor Marie Flores, proper, examines affected person Karla Olguin, left, at an AltaMed clinic in Pico Rivera, Calif. (Christina Home/Los Angeles Instances/TNS)
People with disabilities typically have bother accessing well being care. Now a gaggle of federal lawmakers is asking for an investigation into why.
A half-dozen senators are asking the Authorities Accountability Workplace to check the boundaries going through People with disabilities after they search entry to medical remedy, companies, gear and extra.
The request is available in a letter despatched late final month to the top of GAO that was signed by U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Unwell., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
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“We write to request that the Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO) conduct a research on boundaries individuals with disabilities expertise in accessing healthcare — together with reproductive healthcare — in the US,” the senators wrote. “Although discrimination primarily based on incapacity is prohibited by regulation, individuals with disabilities proceed to face points with accessibility in terms of getting the healthcare they want, after they want it. The shortage of accessible healthcare contributes to and exacerbates well being disparities skilled by individuals with disabilities.”
Specifically, the senators notice that individuals with disabilities typically encounter inaccessible examination tables, scales and different medical gear. What’s extra, they’ve bother accessing interpreters or they don’t seem to be supplied the chance to make selections utilizing supported decision-making, amongst different boundaries.
The scenario has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as individuals with disabilities have been denied care when overwhelmed well being care methods have turned to disaster requirements of care, the letter signifies.
These points persist regardless of “sturdy protections” of the rights of individuals with disabilities to entry equal care by means of provisions of the People with Disabilities Act, Part 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Inexpensive Care Act, in keeping with the lawmakers.
The senators are asking GAO to look into what’s identified about boundaries to well being take care of individuals with disabilities, what knowledge the federal government collects on this problem and what oversight efforts are presently in place. The lawmakers additionally wish to understand how a lot coaching well being care suppliers are receiving about serving individuals with disabilities, what number of people with disabilities work in well being care and the way monetary boundaries skilled by individuals with disabilities impression their entry to well being care.
As well as, GAO is being requested to advocate what extra the federal authorities can do to deal with these points.
“For the hundreds of thousands of People with disabilities who nonetheless don’t have equitable entry to healthcare, regardless of the protections afforded to them by the ADA, the ACA and Part 504, this is just one step in the direction of reaching fairness,” reads the letter to GAO.