St Louis Jewish Parents, May 2018

Page 31



Individuals With Disabilities

From the opioid epidemic to flu outbreaks, healthcare has been a top issue for 2018. Yet there’s one issue affecting 20% of Americans that has been largely left out of the conversation — healthcare access for individuals with disabilities.

BY ELISA GARLAND, M. ED., PLPC. Elisa Garland has a teaching certificate in Special Education from Metropolitan State University of Denver and served as a Special Education Teacher/Behavior Specialist at the secondary level for 8 years. While working as a Behavior

The Social Security Administration estimates that 56 million Americans, or 1-in-5, live with a disability1. Although people with disabilities are more likely to experience diseases and conditions at an earlier age, they have a more difficult time accessing and being included in healthcare decisions than their nondisabled peers. Research shows that individuals with intellectual disabilities must contact 50 physicians before they can find one trained to treat them2. When they do find a trained and available physician, they often face high prices for services, physical barriers to building access, and misinformation among clinical staff. Due to these obstacles, people with disabilities often do not receive the primary and preventive care that their non-disabled peers receive. For example, women with disabilities receive less screenings for breast and cervical cancer than women without disabilities2. As these ailments go untreated, they

become more costly and difficult for both the patients and providers to treat.

Specialist she obtained her Masters in

In order to improve access to healthcare services for people with disabilities, we must empower both the patients and the providers through increased education. We can empower providers by integrating curriculum on disabilities into undergraduate degrees for healthcare professionals. We can empower patients by including them in community conversations on the healthcare policies and programs that affect all of us. By including their voices in these important decisions, we can better treat and manage the health of the whole community, not 4/5 of it.

joined the JF&CS staff as the Jewish

Mental Health Counseling from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She just Disabilities Care Manager and will be working to connect community members with disabilities to health, social, and educational resources.

Call 314-993-1000 for more information.

References: 1

Disability and Health Fact Sheet. (2018, January). Retrieved April 02, 2018, from


Corbin S., Holder M., Engstrom K. (2005) Changing attitudes, changing the world: the health and health care of people with intellectual disabilities. Washington, D.C.: Special Olympics International.

St. Louis Jewish Parents

MAY 2018


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