Prevention Pays Off in #HealthCareEquality

  • May 1, 2019

Stephanie, a wheelchair user at a higher risk for breast cancer, planned to have her mammogram at the end of the year because her deductible had been met, making the procedure free. She made an appointment at a breast imaging center that claimed to have highly advance specialized equipment. On the day of her appointment, staff at the imaging center informed her that they could not see her because she could not independently access the diagnostic machine. Because the imaging center would not provider Stephanie the reasonable modification of lifting her onto the table, Stephanie was forced to find another provider.

The new provider was not able to schedule the mammogram until the next calendar year resulting in the reset of her deductible and increased out-of-pocket expense. More importantly, this discrimination delayed her care, placing her health at a potential risk. “I felt like a person who had no value as a human being,” explained Stephanie.

 

Medical providers, including imaging centers, should have reasonable modification policies to ensure that all patients can access their services.

 

Access to diagnostics is crucial for patients with disabilities to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) require medical providers to ensure full and equal access to health care services and facilities.

Medical providers, including imaging centers, should have reasonable modification policies to ensure that all patients can access their services. “Preventative care is a key part of health care equality for people with disabilities,” says Stacie Price, DRT Attorney. “Under no circumstance should a person be denied a preventative or otherwise needed diagnostic because of a barrier caused by their disability.”

 

“Preventative care is a key part of health care equality for people with disabilities,” says Stacie Price, DRT Attorney. “Under no circumstance should a person be denied a preventative or otherwise needed diagnostic because of a barrier caused by their disability.”

 

Summary: Stephanie uses a wheelchair and is at a higher risk for breast cancer. She scheduled her regular mammogram at the end of the year after she had met her deductible. When the office found out she uses a wheelchair they cancelled her appointment. She couldn’t get another appointment at a new office until the new year. By this time her deductible had reset. This cost her money. The new office helped lift her onto the table for the mammogram. It was easy to help Stephanie get the mammogram.

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This story is a part of a larger #HealthCareEquality campaign. Health care equality is literally a matter of life or death, especially for people with disabilities. Learn more about the campaign.

Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) is a nonprofit legal services organization that provides FREE services to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities.

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