Customizing Care for People Living with Disabilities


People living with disabilities face many challenges, but accessing timely, appropriate health care shouldn’t be one of them.

U.S. adults with disabilities — physical, intellectual, or mental — often have difficulty locating accessible providers with expertise in their conditions. Compared with other Americans, adults with disabilities receive less preventive care, have a higher incidence of chronic conditions, and visit the hospital and emergency department more often — leading to much higher health care spending.

In a new Commonwealth Fund report, Martha Hostetter and Sarah Klein highlight model health plans and clinics around the country that, while often targeting people with just one type of disability, share a similar approach. They focus on preventing and identifying complications; seek to engage patients and earn their trust; and integrate long-term services and supports to promote independence and social inclusion.

The authors also offer lessons for policymakers to support these and other innovative care models for adults with disabilities.

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