Friday, March 22, 2013

Up to 44% of Doctors Refuse to Treat Disabled Patients!

My opinion: As a person who is not physically disabled, it is difficult for me to perfectly understand how those who are get around.  This is something of which I was completely unaware - how ironic that, in the setting where physical illnesses are supposed to be treated, these patients can't even access the facility!  I understand that some places (stores, restaurants, etc.) may not have the money to create wheelchair friendly spaces, but this should not be the case in terms of doctors offices.  I wonder if, in more cases, their offices are just entirely unaccessible because of the building they're in, or if it's because they do not have the right materials inside the building, or both.  I think that this knowledge might make it easier to tackle the exact problem.  I also wonder if non-psychiatrist doctors often refuse to see mentally disabled patients because they do not wish to handle them.  And all of these factors contribute to the lack of healthcare access that is already growing in the first place.  Maybe this is one easier way to cut it down?  Feel free to comment.

From: http://www.boston.com/dailydose/2013/03/18/boston-specialist-physicians-can-accommodate-disabled-patients/zj5U74jNg90TfXnUJiW6XM/story.html

1 in 6 Boston specialist physicians can’t accommodate disabled patients

More than one in six Boston doctors offices refused to schedule appointments for callers posing as disabled patients in wheelchairs, researchers at Baystate Medical Center reported Monday in a study of specialty practices in four cities.
Legal experts say the practice violates a federal law requiring that people with disabilities have access to appropriate medical care.
Gynecologists had the highest rate of inaccessible practices in the four cities, with 44 percent informing patients that they need to seek a specialist elsewhere because their offices lacked exam tables that can be raised and lowered, or a lift for transfer out of a wheelchair. The findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
“Many doctors may not be aware that they need to see patients with disabilities,” said study leader Dr. Tara Lagu, an academic hospitalist at Baystate in Springfield and an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. I’m shocked every time I hear from patients in wheelchairs that they can’t get an appointment with a urologist or gynecologist or that the doctor wants them to come in an ambulance for transfer to an exam table by an emergency medical technician.”

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