Press Release: NewYork-Presbyterian Undertaking Extensive Accessibility Enhancements Benefiting Patients with Disabilities

March 19, 2024

Disability Justice, Health Justice, Media Coverage, News

Patient and doctor having a conversation

In the latest example of its ongoing commitment to providing all of its patients with the highest quality of care, and as part of its next phase of extensive capital improvements and new construction planning, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, in consultation with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), has established a schedule for implementing approximately 1,300 accessibility enhancements, including, but not limited to, entrances and loading areas, interior and exteriors routes, doors, signage, public restrooms, patient rooms, service counters, nurses’ stations, and gift shops, all to be completed by the end of 2028. These accessibility enhancements will include portions of NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital and the Herbert Irving Pavilion, on the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus.

These efforts are of particular importance as patients with disabilities routinely experience worse health outcomes than those without disabilities, particularly when they encounter inaccessible healthcare facilities. With these efforts, NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the best hospitals in the nation and a top hospital in New York according to U.S. News & World Report, has committed to significantly raising the bar for treating patients with disabilities.

“NYLPI commends NewYork-Presbyterian for its commitment to providing a high level of care to all New Yorkers, including patients with disabilities,” says Christopher Schuyler, Senior Staff Attorney with the Disability Justice Program at NYLPI. “NewYork-Presbyterian is leading by example in providing equal and accessible care to the disability community. It is our hope that other hospitals in our city and across the state will follow suit.”

Shortly before the pandemic, NYLPI approached NewYork-Presbyterian and provided guidance and feedback about the inclusion of accessibility enhancements at certain facilities at NewYork-Presbyterian. Discussions persisted throughout the pandemic, and, with the further aid of an outside accessibility consultant, the parties developed a plan to incorporate accessibility enhancements to capital improvement planning for select areas of the Herbert Irving Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital. These accessibility enhancements – which commenced in early 2023 and will continue through 2028, include, but are not limited to, entrances and loading areas, interior and exteriors routes, doors, signage, public restrooms, patient rooms, service counters, nurses’ stations, and gift shops. The hospital will also be installing 31 adjustable exam chairs. Finally, the hospital will provide staff training with respect to treating patients with disabilities. The hospital will share annual progress reports with NYLPI.

Lack of accessibility at healthcare provider facilities is a leading cause of worse health outcomes for patients with disabilities. The facilities of older institutions, including NewYork-Presbyterian, were built long before passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. As a result, many hospital buildings are largely inaccessible to the disability community. NewYork-Presbyterian, in alignment with its goal of providing the highest quality of patient care, has demonstrated its commitment to modernizing its facilities to meet its equity and patient care service goals. Moreover, while such large-scale accessibility improvements are essential to providing equal access to care for patients with disabilities, they also benefit many other patients and staff of the hospital, including the elderly and patients who do not speak English as their first language.

About NewYork-Presbyterian

NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the nation’s most comprehensive, integrated academic healthcare systems, encompassing 10 hospitals across the Greater New York area, nearly 200 primary and specialty care clinics and medical groups, and an array of telemedicine services.

A leader in medical education, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is affiliated with two world-class medical schools, Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. This collaboration means patients have access to the country’s leading physicians, the full range of medical specialties, latest innovations in care, and research that is developing cures and saving lives.

Founded 250 years ago, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has a long legacy of medical breakthroughs and innovation, from the invention of the Pap test to pioneering the groundbreaking heart valve replacement procedure called TAVR.

NewYork-Presbyterian’s 49,000 employees and affiliated physicians are dedicated to providing the highest quality, most compassionate care to New Yorkers and patients from across the country and around the world.

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About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI)

Founded in 1976 by leaders of the bar, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest is a community-driven civil rights organization that pursues justice for all New Yorkers. NYLPI works toward a New York where all people can thrive in their communities, with quality healthcare and housing, safe jobs, good schools, and healthy neighborhoods. In NYLPI’s vision, all New Yorkers live with dignity and independence, with the resources they need to succeed. NYLPI’s community-driven approach powers its commitments to civil rights and to disability, health, immigrant, and environmental justice. NYLPI seeks lasting change through litigation, community organizing, policy advocacy, pro bono service, and education.

NYLPI’s Disability Justice Program has a long history of fighting for equal access to medical care for people with disabilities. As a member of a coalition of advocates and City and State civil rights enforcement agencies, NYLPI pursues systemic improvements by responding to the needs of community members, fighting for their rights to accessible medical equipment, accessible facilities, and reasonable accommodations.

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Download the press release here: NYPH-NYLPI Press Release

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