‘I Am Not The Doctor For You’: Physicians’ Attitudes About Caring For People With Disabilities

Tara Lagu*, Carol Haywood, Kimberly Reimold, Christene Dejong, Robin Walker Sterling, Lisa I. Iezzoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

People with disabilities face barriers when attempting to gain access to health care settings. Using qualitative analysis of three physician focus groups, we identified physical, communication, knowledge, structural, and attitudinal barriers to care for people with disabilities. Physicians reported feeling overwhelmed by the demands of practicing medicine in general and the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 specifically; in particular, they felt that they were inadequately reimbursed for accommodations. Some physicians reported that because of these concerns, they attempted to discharge people with disabilities from their practices. Increasing health care access for people with disabilities will require increasing the accessibility of space and the availability of proper equipment, improving the education of clinicians about the care of people with disabilities, and removing structural barriers in the health care delivery system. Our findings also suggest that physicians’ bias and general reluctance to care for people with disabilities play a role in perpetuating the health care disparities they experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1395
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume41
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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