1 Overview/scope/magnitude The CDC identifies that approximately 24% of individuals 18 years or older experience some sort of disability in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). Among the adult population in Alaska, 111,809 individuals are disabled. Approximately 39,258 of those individuals experience hearing disabilities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022[KD1] my promlem statement ). It is estimated that 10% of Americans have an invisible disability and 96% of chronic medical patients live with invisible illnesses (World, 2014)(from lia problem statement). Disabilities such as these can present various challenges for individuals, healthcare workers, and communities. Access to healthcare services can be complicated by limited appointments, transportation, and adequate insurance coverage. Alaska faces other unique challenges due to the remoteness of some communities. Individual situations are compounded in rural areas, where access to healthcare services can be limited, and resources are scarce (Rural Health for Alaska Overview – Rural Health Information Hub, 2020)(from lia paper 2). Oftentimes those with invisible disabilities experience communication challenges. Researchers have found that “patients with communication problems were 3 times more likely to experience a preventable adverse event than patients without such problems” (Bartlett et al., 2008, p. 1559). Addressing disparities of handicapped individuals through policy change would benefit more than the individual experiencing disability. Increasing accessibility by providing adequate accommodations, educational resources, primary health care, and safe housing would alleviate the burden of poor health outcomes … Creating a more accessible healthcare system for those struggling with these disabilities should be at the forefront of the action. Having health policies in place can help provide a better quality of life. This could be a plan to provide more accessible treatment and care or allow care and treatment to be more affordable. Through teamwork from the Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, stakeholders, board chair members, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, policies can be created for better care for these patients (lia problem statement) 2 current policy including shortcommings The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prevents discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. Like other civil rights laws, the ADA prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. By protecting people with disabilities from discrimination, the ADA ensures that they are afforded the same opportunities as everyone else to obtain employment, purchase goods, and participate in state and local government programs. The ADA has come a long way since 1990 when it was passed by Congress (U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, n.d.).Huge obstacles have been tackled giving individuals with physical disabilities access to buildings, public transport, and parking spots. Obstacles however still exist for people who experience challenges that may not be documented or have disabilities that are not quite so obvious. Work is still needed in educating caregivers, family members, and healthcare professionals on accommodations available for people with communication disabilities (from my problem statement). Our second policy is the Fair Housing Act. This act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities or people related to people with disabilities. In accordance with the law, a person is considered disabled if he or she has a physical or mental disability that significantly limits a major life activity, if he or she has had a record of such a disability, or if they are regarded as having such a disability. As a result of the Fair Housing Act, certain accessibility features must be included in multi-family housing built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Furthermore, disabled individuals are entitled to request reasonable accommodations and modifications. These protections apply in most private housing, state and local government housing, public housing, and other federally-assisted housing programs and activities. These two policies are similar in prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities.. Be that as it may, the Act can sometimes be vague and confusing. For example, the Act does not apply to churches and/or privately owned businesses. These limitations can often create issues for disabled individuals. housing, and other federally-assisted housing programs and activities. Blanket policies like the American Disability Act (ADA) are not enough to protect individuals from unequal treatment. To honor the work that was done in the past, examining inequities is necessary to protect individual rights. Staff shortages, long waitlists, and Alaska remoteness are all issues that lead to inequalities. As stated earlier, there is value in timely treatment and therapy. Healthcare professionals have an obligation to act in the best interest of the patient. Avoiding burnout while the case load is excessive requires a delicate balance by professionals. An interdisciplinary team approach is needed so therapies do not overlap, and resources are used efficiently. Consideration of funding for additional support for school districts and programs designed to fill open jobs is desperately needed. Examining the use of group therapies should be studied to determine if there is enough focus on individual needs and if treatment goals are reached. Resources are needed to collect data assessing the extent of the need for additional physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services in Alaska. A collaboration between tribal health, local hospitals, and schools to present information to the State of Alaska to be considered in the state’s Health objective list. (my prompt 2) Ok here are some ideas….. By providing fair and safe housing, educational campaigns, and increasing accessibility =Primary health benefits improve decreasing medical errors providing overall better health. Start with Education Campaign increasing awareness of disabilities and disparities the they experience. Additionally, life in Alaska adds unique hurdles that require creative solutions. Evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and care in rural areas are equally frustrating obstacles faced by those with disabilities. “These individuals with disabilities face significant disparities compared to peers without disabilities in many core health indicators such as higher body mass index, limited physical activity, increased diabetes, increased asthma, increased heart disease, inability to seek health care due to cost, increased depression, and poor mental health (Atkinson et al., 2014). Then Beef up resources – more providers and support staff Rural Alaska use of Telemed to provide licenced practitioners to supervise and train village health aides. Explicit discussion of the relationship between policy and community health Discussion of how you will engage policy in this area Analysis of your policy effort Discussion of the future challenges and recommendation for the next policy steps and implementation


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