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Medical clinics in our region now equipped to see patients with physical disabilities

Several clinics and centers which cater to Medicaid patients in our region are now better equipped to see patients with physical challenges.

News 5 Investigates first showed you last year how the majority of clinics in southern Colorado are not accessible to people with disabilities.

The Independence Center in Colorado Springs is working to improve accessibility and we’re already seeing positive results.

The center, which primarily helps people with disabilities gave out $75,000 in accessible medical equipment last year and they plan to do the same in 2019.

A routine visit to the doctor can be a challenge for those who rely on wheelchairs for mobility.

“We decided to purchase accessible exam tables with a built-in scales and also a lift so that Medicaid primary care physicians can actually examine a person who uses a wheelchair or a senior who just can’t hop up on a table,” Patricia Yeager, the CEO of The Independence Center said.

Multiple medical clinics and centers in our region now have accessible exam tables and lifts to make life a lot easier for people who struggled to get onto a standard exam table.

“The exam table has a scale built into it so that you don’t have to try and balance on a scale to get your weight,” Sharon King, a Medicaid patient said.

Doctors offices that don’t have accessible exam tables often have to estimate a persons weight which medical experts says isn’t ideal.

“A lot of times doctors are monitoring the weight for diabetes purposes, weight gain, weight loss as well as if the patient is on any prescription medications,” Paul Novotny, Director of Operations for Matthews-Vu Medical Group said. “A lot of prescriptions are based on the patient’s weight.”

The Independence Center also donated assistive listening devices to different health care centers to help the hearing impaired.

“It’s critical to be able to hear and understand what’s going on in a doctors office,” King said. “It’s hard enough to understand medical stuff.”

Although some of the medical clinics have only had this equipment for a couple of months, the feedback is positive.

“Our providers are feeling like they are giving a better exam as well as the patients are feeling they are getting a better exam,” Novotny said.

People like King are appreciative of medical centers and facilities that are willing to make improvements for people with physical challenges.

“It feels really good to be in any kind of setting where you can see ahead of time that people have made a place and a way for you to be there,” King said.

Yeager says by the end of 2019, $150,000 in accessible equipment will be distributed to centers across our region. She also says she wants to expand accessibility not just in a doctor’s office, but dental offices as well.

All the money to purchase the equipment is coming from a special grant within The Independence Center Fund.

The facilities which have received equipment so far have all been nominated by their patients.

If you’re interested in nominating your healthcare provider to receive accessible medical equipment, contact The Independence Center at 719-471-8181.

Accessible Medical Exam Equipment Purchased through The IC Fund (2018): 

Colorado Springs: 

AgeWell Associates-Hearing Loop System

Value Care Clinic- Accessible Table, Scale, and Hearing Loop System

Center Point Family Medicine- Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift
Charles Ripp, MD-  Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

Matthews-Vu Medical Group- Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

SET of Colorado Springs: Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

Summit Medical Group: Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

Sunrise Health Care: Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

El Paso County Public Heath: Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

Mission Medical Center: Accessible Table and Scale

Divide: 

Peak Vista Community Health Centers- Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

Calhan: 

Eastern Plains Medical Clinic- Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

Cheyenne Wells: 

Prairie View Clinic- Accessible Table, Scale, and Hoyer-type Lift

For a full list of healthcare providers with accessible medical equipment, click here.

About The Independence Center: 

The Independence Center (The IC) is a local nonprofit organization that provides traditional and self-directed home health care, independent living, and advocacy services for people with disabilities. These services range from providing peer support, skills classes, and employment assistance to individual and systems advocacy. In addition, The IC runs a Certified Nurse Aide training program to equip the area with qualified CNAs. The IC’s mission is to work with people with disabilities, their families, and the community to create independence so all may thrive.

Previous coverage:

People with disabilities call on medical clinics and centers to be more “accessible”

New initiative launched to make medical clinics and centers more “accessible” to people with physical challenges

$150,000 awarded to improve accessibility at Medicaid clinics and centers in the Pikes Peak Region 

 

Eric Ross

Eric Ross

Eric Ross is the chief investigative reporter/executive producer at News 5. If you have a story idea or news tip, please send an email to eross@KOAA.com or call 719-228-6275.
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