Friday, April 15, 2022

What Do Doctors Know About Legal Protections for People with Disabilities?

Doctor in white coat standing next to man in red shirt sitting in a black wheelchair

The answer to that question is: Apparently, not enough!

It’s been three decades since the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) took effect. Researchers recently quizzed doctors about the ADA and its requirements to provide appropriate accommodations for their patients who have disabilities. The quiz results are shocking.

Over a third of doctors surveyed said they knew little or nothing about their legal responsibilities as outlined in the ADA.

Almost three-quarters of the doctors did not know who was responsible for determining reasonable accommodations.

One in five doctors could not correctly identify who was to pay for the accommodations.

And because of their lack of knowledge, almost two-thirds felt they were at risk of an ADA lawsuit.

Physicians’ lack of knowledge about accommodations is yet one more barrier between a disabled person and adequate and appropriate healthcare. As our population ages doctors will see increasing numbers of persons with disabilities. Medical schools bear some responsibility for improving physician training on the topic of legal accommodations.

As patients, we can also explain our accommodation needs when we schedule an appointment with a medical office. Ask that your accommodation request be entered into your electronic health record. Don’t feel shy about asking how any new equipment will work for you.

You can become part of the system for improving your doctor’s knowledge about the ADA and its accommodation requirements.


  1. Thank you for this information, Orange.

  2. You're welcome. If you have ideas on other things that will be helpful, please send them along.


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