July 7, 2020

IC Fund: Better Access for Better Health

At The Independence Center (The IC), our goal is to help increase independence and accessibility for people with disabilities. Dental Patient getting exam in wheelchair liftTo do this, we not only work with people individually, we support a variety of other community projects and organizations through our IC Fund. Since 2014, the fund has granted monies to build ADA-compliant walkways, provide recreational trips for adults with disabilities, support American Sign Language interpretation and CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation), upgrade sports uniforms at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, and much more.

Over the last two years, the IC Fund committee has made the issue of accessible health care their focus. For some people with disabilities, something as simple as getting an accurate weight or a yearly physical can seem out of reach when offices aren’t accessible. So from 2018 to 2019, the IC Fund donated nearly $150,000 in accessible equipment and other tools to Medicaid/Medicare health care providers in the Pikes Peak region who were nominated by their patients.

In 2018, nine Medicaid/Medicare medical practices in the region – including one in rural Cheyenne Wells – were awarded Hoyer lifts and UpLift accessible exam tables with built-in scales. Hoyer lifts easily and safely transfer patients to and from exam tables. The exam tables can be raised and lowered, allowing patients to sit down and then be raised for the exam. They also provide accurate weight and height measurements.

In 2019, the IC Fund awarded accessible dental equipment to four area dental practices. They received Versatilt wheelchair lifts, medical masks with clear windows that allow patients to read lips, a complimentary ADA accessibility audit, and complimentary disability competency training for staff.

The positive effects of this equipment are already being felt by people with disabilities on the Front Range. “Knowing that you can easily get a thorough exam in a safe environment is a huge relief,” said Betty Jo Sjoberg, who nominated her doctor’s office for the equipment. “But it goes beyond that. It’s really comes down to being treated with the dignity and respect every patient deserves – regardless of whether they have a disability or not.”

For a full list of medical and dental practices with accessible equipment, visit http://bit.ly/accessiblemed.