Doctors’ offices still inaccessible to disabled patients

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Here in New York, when we go to the doctor, we rightfully expect to receive good treatment from knowledgeable medical experts. A recent study found out, however, that some people do not receive care at all.

Recently, researchers called hospitals pretending to be prospective patients who used wheelchairs. After calling more than 250 practices in four cities across the country, more than 20 percent turned patients away saying they did not have the resources to accommodate a person in a wheelchair. What the operators of these practices may not realize, however, is that they are required by law to make their facilities and services accessible to everyone, including those who have a disability.

Of the practices that were in clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, most said that they were unable to move patients from their wheelchairs onto an exam table. Some of the researchers were even told that entire buildings were not wheelchair-accessible. Unfortunately, it’s likely that some New York residents have experienced difficulty at a doctor’s office because it lacks accessibility.

Despite the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act has been part of federal law for more than 20 years, it is clear from this study that medical facilities are still not adhering to its requirements. Unfortunately, this has caused patients to be denied care at certain medical practices.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was instated to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. Hopefully, the findings of this study will encourage medical facilities to take a look at their buildings and operations to ensure that they are up to ADA standards.

Source: Disability Scoop, “Doctors Turning Away Patients With Disabilities,” Michelle Diament, March 19, 2013

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