Medical Access

Disability Justice, Health Justice, Medical Access

Wheelchair ramp sign

Nearly one million New Yorkers identify as living with one or more disabilities. Many of these individuals face physical barriers to health services at their doctors’ offices, clinics, or hospitals, including inaccessible entrances and unusable basic medical equipment such as examination tables. Despite laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in the provision of medical care, many providers are not in compliance with the law. 

NYLPI’s medical access campaign pursues remedies for broad health care accessibility issues. We communicate and educate the disability community about their rights to accessible medical equipment, accessible facilities, reasonable accommodations, and how to file complaints. 

NYLPI filed a complaint in 2016 with the NYC Civil Rights Commission requesting a city-wide investigation that resulted in improved care at two City-wide mammography facilities. In addition, NYLPI published a report entitled “Breaking Down Barriers, Breaking The Silence: Making Health Care Accessible For Women With Disabilities” which outlined the barriers to care faced by women with disabilities regarding their medical care. NYLPI also holds regular meetings for the Medical Access Roundtable, a coalition of advocates and city and state agencies, that collectively work to address systemic issues with medical access.

The work of the Medical Access Roundtable is increasingly relevant as people with disabilities are disproportionately at risk of negative health outcomes due to, among other things, new access barriers resulting from COVID-19 related protocols along with health care staffing and resource shortages. During the early stages of the pandemic, the Medical Access Roundtable engaged with major hospital systems to ensure that ASL interpreters remain available to patients who are deaf and hard of hearing. More recently, the Medical Access Roundtable has promoted the advancement and improvement of telehealth services, which is known to reduce various barriers for people with disabilities.

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