The Inclusive Healthcare Partnership Project
Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council, in partnership with Green Mountain Self Advocates
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities now live as long as other Americans. However, as a group, we experience more health challenges. Our goal is come up with guidelines to use when we use healthcare. In the future we want people with disabilities to be healthier and have better healthcare experiences at lower cost.
In January 2015 we put together a team made up of doctors, nurses, self-advocates, parents and project staff. They meet all day once a month to look at how we get health care. Project staff have interviewed healthcare providers, people with disabilities, and their families. We have collected and read much information about people’s medical experiences. We have reviewed Vermont Medicaid claims data. We are on schedule to complete our research and share our recommendations by the end of 2015.
Our project is different from the other VT healthcare community grants because self-advocates are providing leadership and expertise. It takes some additional time and planning to involve self-advocates in meaningful conversations about health care, but it can be done. In fact, many of the tools we use to support understanding and participation are also tools that we will be recommending to improve the communication between health providers and individuals with disabilities.
When a person communicates or learns is a different way it can make it harder to get healthcare. Others may not have the confidence to speak up to get their needs met. Health care providers receive little training in addressing these challenges. There are tools out there that make getting healthcare easier, but most people don’t use them or even know they exist. And finally many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities also receive Medicaid waiver services. The grant hopes to suggest ways to better coordinate a person’s medical and community supports in a way that gets them healthy and saves money.