270431 Access to Rural Health Clinics and Community Health Centers for Persons with Disabilities

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 9:29 AM - 9:47 AM

Meg Ann Traci, PhD , Rural Institute, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Helen Russette, Undergraduate , Rural Institute on Disabilities, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Accessibility Ambassadors from one of the four centers of Montana Independent Living conducted assessments on-site of rural health clinics (RHC) and community health centers (CHC) to evaluate accessibility in four priority areas: accessible approach and entrance, access to goods and services, accessible rest room, and additional access. The apparatus used to conduct the assessment was the Massachusetts Facility Assessment Tool (MFAT) which provides ADA standards of accessibility characteristics of a RHC, or CHC, for persons with disabilities. Forty-six RHCs and CHCs participated in this project. The MFAT results indicated not one RHC, or CHC met all ADA standards. The Accessibility Action Plan is provided to each RHC and CHC, and lists the barriers that are present, provides details about specific barriers, and suggests some possible solutions. Subsequent columns prompt assignment of a “timeline” and “responsible party” for implementing solutions. Finally, there is a “progress” column to record the facility's accomplishments in addressing each defined barrier. Some barriers will require minimal efforts to address, while other solutions may be integrated into long-term strategic plans. Resources and materials that have been useful to health care facilities and providers for addressing accessibility barriers to receiving health care services are provided to facilities. Currently, Accessibility Ambassadors are conducting follow up meetings with each clinic or facility to determine the progress in removing accessibility barriers. Follow up group forums are highly suggested for taking the next step to receiving specific barriers that persons with disabilities are challenged with in receiving health care.

Learning Areas:
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the health disparity persons with disabilities encounter in seeking medical care. Discuss the possible resources for clinics and facilities for improving accessibility features of their building. Identify common accessibility barriers based in four priority areas in RHC and CHC buildings.

Keywords: Disability, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Meg Traci was trained as an experimental psychologist at The University of Montana (UM) and specializes in both early childhood and life-span development. Dr. Traci works at The University of Montana Rural Institute: A Center for Excellence in Disability Education, Research, and Services (UMRI). Currently, she is detailed to direct a MDPHHS grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Montana Disability and Health Program: Living Well Under the Big Sky (MTDH).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3028.0: Access to health services