Disabil Rehabil 2003;25(9):487-490
Bingham S, Beatty P.
To determine rates of access to assistive equipment and medical rehabilitation services among people with disabilities in the US, and to determine whether health plan type is associated with rates of access to these health services.
Results were derived from a nationwide US survey sample of people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury.
Analyses were restricted to working-age adults (n=500).
Need for, and receipt of (1) assistive equipment in the last 12 months, and (2) rehabilitative services in the last 3 months, was determined.
Over half of the sample indicated a need for assistive equipment in the last 12 months.
Nearly a third of those who indicated a need did not receive assistive equipment every time it was needed.
Forty per cent of the sample indicated a need for rehabilitative services in the last 3 months, and over half of those indicating a need did not receive rehabilitative services every time they were needed.
Access rates did not differ appreciably between respondents covered by managed care and fee-for-service health plans.
Emphasis in healthcare for people with disabilities should shift from traditional acute healthcare models that focus on functional restoration, to preventive services, and maintenance of function, health and independence.