People with disabilities face significant problems accessing primary and preventative health care. The barriers faced by persons with disabilities trying to access basic medical equipment must be eliminated.
If you are a person with physical disability in need of basic health care, evidence shows you will not receive the same level of care as your nondisabled peer, and that is really bad.
Exam tables, X-ray equipment, weight scales, and exam chairs are some of the most basic and vital pieces of routine medical diagnostic equipment that health care providers use. This equipment is largely inaccessible, not adaptable and is not really built with adequate mobility for people with disabilities. Fewer than 20% of primary care clinics in America is having accessible exam tables, even though 1 in less than 7 American adults live with a different physical disability that affects their mobility.
Clear-cut guidelines have long existed for the physical structure of a building – set widths for doorways, dimensions for ramps – that help eliminate confusion on what access into a clinic means. However, access to health care services provided by the use of common medical diagnostic equipment such as exam tables, weight scales, and mammogram machines have had little and low standards to guide health care until 2017 when the U.S. Access Board issued accessibility standards for medical equipment under the Affordable Care Act.
"Hospitals can be accessible, but If the health care equipment is inaccessible, the health of a patient with disabilities might be in danger. I have experienced this scenario before, so I know what I am saying, we need to ensure that there is more accessibility in health care service delivery across the country," John Shawn, a 54 years old man with disabilities in New York said.
It is important for health care providers to embrace and abide by the standards of MDE for all new equipment purchases, especially height-adjustable examination tables, wheelchair-accessible weight scales, and height-adjustable mammography machines.
Image credit: Photo by Author