From Transition Letter Attachment Sent by a Coalition of Consumer Controlled Organizations led by AAPD (12/22/08):
Improve Health Care
· The Institute of Medicine reports persons with disabilities comprise the largest and most important health care consumer group with an estimated 49.7 million members in 2000.
· People with disabilities experience significant health inequities and health disparities.
· People with disabilities experience poorer health and a higher prevalence of secondary conditions. They use more health care and fewer preventive services than others.
· People with disabilities face barriers to care including, but not limited to:
§ provider stereotypes about disabilities and lack of knowledge or appropriate training to treat people with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities;
§ lack of accessible medical facilities and examination equipment;
§ failure to provide necessary accommodations to access care, including qualified sign language inter-preters, assistive communication technology (AAC), and other means to effective communication.
· One in three people with disabilities report delaying care, skipping medication, or going without needed equipment due to cost or coverage that limits or prevents their access to the following critical tools and interventions that enable independence and self-determination:
· prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, grab bars, raised toilet seats, breathing devices, hearing aids, and corrective lenses;
· necessary specialists; post-acute and rehabilitative services; long-term care; and care coordination.
Long Term Goals:
Ensure comprehensive health care reform provides meaningful access to health care, including mental health care, and adequate coverage to meet the needs of people with disabilities;
Short Term Goals:
· Work with Congress to ensure the upcoming health care reform debate includes all issues of concern to people with disabilities, including access requirements of ADA and Section 504 in health care delivery.
· Issue an Executive Order instructing the Secretary of HHS to include “individuals with disabilities” in all federal programs that address health disparities and health inequities and work with Congress to ensure inclusion in all health disparities and inequities legislation and in Healthy People 2020.
· Work with Congress to advance the Promoting Wellness for Individuals with Disabilities Act, which establishes accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment, creates grants for specialized wellness programs, and promotes training of medical and dental personnel in how to treat individuals with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities.
· Ensure the Economic Stimulus Package includes requirements to make school facilities accessible, such as health clinics, gymnasiums, playgrounds, and sports fields, and invite individuals with disabilities and community groups to use them for health, fitness, recreation, and wellness programs.