Stop Health Providers from Denying Treatment to Patients with Disabilities

Disability

Target: U.S. Healthcare Providers

Goal: Require all healthcare providers to be accessible to persons with disabilities.

A recent study has shown that more than 20 percent of doctors refuse treatment to persons with disability. The Annals of Internal Medicine randomly studied 256 medical practices in four major cities—Boston, Houston, Portland, and Dallas. A surprising number of practitioners turned the fictitious patient from the study away, due to their use of a wheelchair and their inability to move independently from the chair to the exam table.

Most of the doctors refused to treat disabled patients due to inaccessibility. Many of their offices had an inaccessible entry, and countless others did not possess exam rooms big enough to accommodate a wheelchair, nor did they have a lift to move patients from the chair to the exam table. Gynecologists were the most likely to turn away patients with disabilities, corresponding with the inaccessibility of necessary examination equipment, while psychiatrists were the least likely to do so.

Individuals with disabilities should not be turned away from receiving medical care, as they are often most in need of routine medical care. Persons with disabilities often make emergency room visits that could be prevented through routine medical care. Healthcare providers are required through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to make their practices accessible to persons with disabilities. Sign the petition to prevent persons with disabilities from being turned away from receiving medical care.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear U.S. Healthcare Providers,

Recent studies have shown that more than 20 percent of healthcare providers turn away persons with disabilities from receiving services, often due to the inaccessibility of their practices. This is simply unacceptable and incredibly unfair.

Often persons with disabilities are those who are most in need of routine medical care, and they should therefore never be turned away from receiving the care they need. Individuals with disabilities often make unnecessary trips to the emergency room since they cannot receive care from a primary care provider in many situations. This should not be the case.

All healthcare providers need to make their practices accessible to persons with disabilities. Entryways to the office building should be accessible to persons in wheelchairs, and at least one examination room should be large enough for a wheelchair to enter and should possess a lift device to properly aid the individual in laying on the examination table for proper medical examination. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) clearly states that all healthcare providers are to make their practices accessible to persons with disabilities. This is a federal requirement that must be met.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Steve Johnson, flikr.com

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66 Signatures

  • James Thrailkill
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Nancy Petersen
  • jeff hopkins
  • Frédérique Pommarat
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