During July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) observes Disability Pride Month and the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Enacted on July 26, 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.
61 million adults in the United States have some type of disability, with the most prominent disabilities being mobility; followed by cognition meaning having serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; independent living; hearing; vision; and self-care. As individuals continue to learn about the effects of long-term COVID-19, or “long COVID,” multiple sections of the ADA have also been updated to protect those with long COVID from discrimination.
American Indian/Alaskan Native and Black individuals have the highest rates of individuals living with a disability. Individuals living with disabilities face poorer overall health outcomes, including increased likelihood of obesity (38.2%), heart disease (11.5%), and diabetes (16.3%). Individuals living with disabilities are also less likely to have access to adequate health care, with 1 in 3 individuals living with a disability not having access to a usual health care provider and having an unmet health care need due to high costs.
CMS OMH is focused on ensuring people with disabilities have access to quality health care services and information. The anniversary of the ADA offers us an opportunity to reaffirm this commitment and share resources that you can use to help empower individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Visit CMS OMH’s Improving Access to Care for People with Disabilities webpage to find tools and resources that can help you improve services and help patients understand their rights.
- Just updated! Getting the Care You Need: Guide for People with Disabilities is a consumer facing resource has now been updated in English and Spanish and is included in the Coverage to Care resources. This resource will be available in additional languages soon.
- Review the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Disparities in Medicare Fee-For-Service Beneficiaries data snapshot to learn more about racial and geographic ASD disparities among those with Medicare.
- Download the Improving Health Care for People with Disabilities issue brief, which outlines data sources that health care organizations and researchers can use to better understand the impact that social determinants of health have on people with disabilities.
- Download the How to Improve Physical Accessibility at Your Health Care Facility resource which helps health care providers, staff, and administrators in a variety of outpatient settings improve the accessibility of their health care facility.
- Review the How Does Disability Affect Access to Health Care for Non-Dual Eligible Beneficiaries? data highlight, which examines access and utilization among adults with Medicaid who are not dually eligible for Medicare and who reported difficulty accessing needed health care.
- Download the Disability Access in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Fact Sheet and HHS Office of Civil Rights Guidance on Federal Legal Standards Prohibiting Disability Discrimination in COVID-19 Vaccination Programs for more information and resources about providing equitable COVID-19 vaccine access for individuals living with disabilities.