Regulation Rollbacks Leave the Disabled Behind

According to a story from Fierce Healthcare, the decision by the Trump administration to curtail planned efforts to update standards of care for people with disabilities means that this community is left receiving less effective care compared to the rest of the population. As part of the Affordable Care Act, these standards were due to be brought up to modern standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As part of his efforts to curtail all things Obama, this new regulation was just one of many that was put on the chopping block by Trump. Unfortunately, thanks to this vendetta, disabled people are now feeling the consequences.

Real Impacts on Real Patients

Take the story of Dr. Lisa Iezzoni. She has severe multiple sclerosis that confines her to a wheelchair. Because of this confinement, she has gone decades without being properly weighed. As a result, certain aspects of her treatment regimen are simply based on estimations and guesses. This is not a problem that most people would have to deal with, and the end result is care of lower quality. 

Although many public places have taken great strides in improving access for the disabled as required by law, oftentimes these improvements suddenly disappear after the person enters the door. A doctor’s office, for example, may have a ramp that allows people confined to wheelchairs to enter the building, but still lack the specialized equipment necessary to give those people the quality care that they need.

54 year old Denise Hok often opts to have most of her medical needs attended to at her own home.

“It feels like it doesn’t really matter if something is wrong.” – Denise Hok on visiting the doctor’s office

Denise feels that when doctor’s offices lack the necessary equipment to accommodate and treat the disabled, which they often do, it sends a strong, and overwhelmingly negative, message.

Another patient, 58 year old Paul Spotts, who is paralyzed from the chest down, says that his checkups are practically useless. He has been using a wheelchair for the past 30 years and says that the doctors only check his ears and eyes. He is never weighed because the doctors don’t know how. They rely on Paul’s own estimates to understand his weight and height. 

While there are a handful of health systems in the country that are taking it upon themselves to make their facilities more welcoming for disabled patients, the general trend highlights a dire need for better measures across the country, and actions to curtail these standards by the government is a blatant, careless step in the wrong direction.


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