The Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council is working to draw attention to barriers that limit or prevent individuals from receiving appropriate healthcare. These barriers include physically inaccessible medical provider offices, exam and diagnostic equipment that cannot be adjusted to accommodate individuals who use wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility devices, and a failure to modify office policies or practices in order to accommodate the needs of patients with sensory disabilities including persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, and individuals with chemical and environmental illness as they seek medical care.

The Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council has launched a survey designed to gather input from people who have disabilities, their family members and caregivers from across Arizona. Available online at https://surveymonkey.com/s/F282ZB8, the survey seeks to gather information from respondents in areas including physical access to healthcare facilities, issues faced by individuals with sensory related disabilities, how medical providers respond to accommodation requests and provides individuals with a platform for sharing healthcare related experiences.

The Americans with Disabilities Act along with other federal and state laws require equal access to medical care for people who have disabilities. Accessibility in medical facilities means not only “getting through the door” features, such as accessible parking and ramps, but also accessible interior features such as bathrooms, reception counters and exam rooms. Accessible healthcare also requires the provision of assistive listening devices and other services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and alternative formats for all printed forms and materials that are critical to receiving services from a healthcare provider. In addition, accessible medical facilities must provide equal access to medical equipment, including weight scales, exam tables and other diagnostic equipment.

Individuals who require a copy of the survey in an alternative format and persons who need assistance completing the survey should contact the Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council at 602-262-2900.