KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study: Patients In Wheelchairs Often Have Trouble Making Appointments With Specialty Docs

One in five speciality practices said they couldn't accommodate the needs of disabled patients using wheelchairs, researchers report.

Reuters: Disabled People May Struggle To Get Specialty Care
Rachel Markley often feels uncomfortable when she goes to the doctor. … A new study suggests she's far from alone. More than one in five specialty practices told referring doctors they couldn't accommodate a wheelchair-bound patient during phone surveys of 256 U.S. offices. Another 40 percent of practices told callers they could accept the patient, but would have to transfer her manually to an examination table -- which could be risky for patients and healthcare workers alike, researchers said (Pittman, 3/19).

The Boston Globe: Doctors Say Offices Not Equipped For Disabled
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 that highlights obstacles to routine medical care. Legal specialists say the practice violates a federal law requiring that people with disabilities have access to appropriate care. Callers turned away by physicians in Boston and three other cities were mostly told the offices lacked an exam table that could be raised and lowered or a lift for transferring a patient out of their wheelchair. In some cases, practices were located in buildings inaccessible to people in wheelchairs (Kotz, 3/19).

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