It is more difficult for women with disabilities than non-disabled women to obtain needed health services from both primary care physicians and specialists.

  • Younger women with disabilities have more difficulty obtaining general medical care, dental care, prescription medicines, eye glasses and mental health care than younger non-disabled women.
  • Delaying care due to cost is a serious problem for women with disabilities, especially those in the 18-44 age range.
  • A substantial proportion of primary care physician's offices are still not in compliance with ADA requirements.
  • Nearly a third of women with physical disabilities reported being denied services at a doctor's office solely because of their disability.

Women with disabilities are more likely than non-disabled women to receive their usual medical care from specialists.

The average Medicare beneficiary with one or more chronic conditions sees eight different specialists. Due to inadequate coordination and communications among different specialists, millions of people with chronic conditions receive inconsistent diagnoses for the same condition and were told by a pharmacist that a new prescription would interact with another drug they were already taking. Medical information systems do not allow physicians to know how other physicians are treating a given patient.

Barriers to health care have a disproportionate negative effect on the health and longevity of women with disabilities compared to non-disabled women.

  • A higher proportion of non-survivors compared to survivors with lupus had reported difficulty in obtaining health care.
  • Limitations and cutbacks in the availability of in-home attendant services have a disproportionate negative effect on women, particularly women with disabilities.