KEY FEATURES. Some health plans and clinics have created customized approaches for people with disabilities. These programs share key features including ensuring accessible care, proactively identifying and treating secondary conditions, engaging and building trust with patients, and integrating long-term services and supports to improve health and promote independence and social inclusion. TARGET POPULATIONS. Working-age adults living with physical disabilities, intellectual and developmental disabilities, or serious mental illnesses. WHY IT'S IMPORTANT. Americans with disabilities often have difficulty finding physically accessible practices or providers with expertise in their conditions. Compared with other adults, they receive less preventive care and have a high incidence of potentially preventable medical conditions stemming from their disabilities. BENEFITS. Engaging patients in managing their conditions and offering them a variety of support services can help avoid medical complications and improve quality of life. CHALLENGES. Ensuring adequate funding. Programs that serve adults with disabilities often rely on private and public grants to cover their costs. More closely managing medical and long-term services and supports for people with disabilities--as a growing number of states are doing through managed care--may lead to higher rather than lower spending, at least in the short term.
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