“Services can be wonderful and high quality, but if there aren’t enough, or if you can’t get to them, or if you don’t know about them, [they’re of] no help to you….”
Like other Americans, especially those who are poor and disabled, people with MR are confronted with a fragmented health care system in which primary and specialty sources of care are often poorly distributed, inadequate in number, and ill-equipped to respond to their needs.
Potential strategies: Recruit students, residents and fellows, and practicing providers from diverse communities, and train them in providing health care to individuals with MR. Establish health professions curricula and continuing education modules in cultural competence in relating to patients with MR. Work with spiritual and other leaders who know the cultural and ethnic beliefs, values, and primary languages of individuals and families in diverse communities to plan and provide health care services, develop health professions training curricula, and otherwise ensure responsiveness to diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic needs in all aspects of health care for individuals with MR and their families.
Easier access: Make access to health care services less complicated for individuals with MR and their families and caregivers, whether in urban, rural, or remote communities.
Potential strategies: Provide support to health care providers to finance the costs of purchasing and installing special equipment and modifications to practice sites, such as installation of automatic doors, specialized examining tables and chairs, and wheelchair-accessible bathrooms. Evaluate and support the use of overhead allowances, direct subsidies, cost- and time-sharing among providers, and other mechanisms for offsetting costs of acquiring (and, as necessary, training in the use of) specialized equipment.