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Structural barriers that limit access to health care services for people with disabilities have been identified through qualitative studies; however, little is known about how patients with disabilities are accommodated in the clinical setting when a structural barrier is encountered. The purpose of this study was to identify how primary care medical practices in the United States accommodated people with disabilities when a barrier to service is encountered. Primary care practice administrators from the medical management organization were identified through the organization’s website. Sixty-three administrators from across the US participated in this study. Practice administrators reported that patients were examined in their wheelchairs (76%), that parts of the exam were skipped when a barrier was encountered (44%), that patients were asked to bring someone with them (52.4%) or that patients were refused treatment due to an inaccessible clinic (3.2%). These methods of accommodation would not be in compliance with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There was not a significant difference (p > 0.05) in accommodations for patients with disabilities between administrators who could describe the application of the ADA to their clinic and those who could not. Practice administrators need a comprehensive understanding of the array of challenges encountered by patients with disabilities throughout the healthcare process and of how to best accommodate patients with disabilities in their practice.


Community-Based Research | Environmental Health | Inequality and Stratification


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