Accommodations for Patients with Disabilities in Primary Care: A Mixed Methods Study of Practice Administrators

Jennifer R Pharr


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 where 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 health care process and of how to best accommodate patients with disabilities in their practice.

Full Text:



Global Journal of Health Science   ISSN 1916-9736(Print)   ISSN 1916-9744(Online)

Copyright © Canadian Center of Science and Education

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.