Accessibility Barriers in Health Care

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Last year, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) released a report documenting significant violations of federal accessibility requirements at hospitals, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies across the nation.

The report, entitled Ill-Prepared: Health Care’s Barriers for People with Disabilities, reveals that fewer than 25% of medical service providers tested in the report were compliant with accessibility standards required under federal law.

The Accessibility Barriers

The ERC’s investigation revealed significant barriers in the structural accessibility of doctors’ offices and equipment, and in effective communication with, and for, individuals who are blind or have low vision.  As detailed in the report, of the hundreds of tested facilities:

  • Only 20% of optometrists’ offices were able to perform a complete eye examination for someone who uses a wheelchair;
  • Only 23% of doctors’ offices and hospitals offered patient information in large print;
  • Only 24% offered patient information in an accessible format;
  • Only 1% of pharmacies offered information in braille;
  • Only 1% offered audible prescription bottles;
  • 86% of tested pharmacies would not accommodate the use of an audible prescription bottle, even if provided by the customer.

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