Our current healthcare system is leaving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) behind. Across the United States, people with IDD—particularly adults—struggle to access primary and specialty healthcare that meets their needs and delivers improved health outcomes. These barriers to access have serious consequences:
- People with IDD have a significantly shorter life expectancy than the general population.
- People with IDD are less likely to receive vaccinations and preventative health screenings.
- 40% of adults with IDD live with four or more health conditions, many of which are treatable.
For 40 years, Makom has been working to support and empower people with IDD to achieve the quality of life to which they aspire. The work is grounded in the idea that everyone has a rightful place in their community. Makom’s role is to support individuals with IDD as they determine the direction of their own lives.
But without accessible healthcare that can deliver better health outcomes, living a well-lived life as a valued member of the community is a vision that remains out of reach for many adults with IDD. The barriers they face are many:
- A lack of appropriate healthcare provider training;
- A lack of accessible medical facilities and accessible examination equipment, such as exam tables and wheelchair scales; and
- A lack of sign language interpreters and individualized accommodations.
Recognizing the gap these barriers create, Makom is leading the development of a partnership-driven system of healthcare that will integrate primary care with dental, behavioral/mental health and other specialties in a center of care that is designed by, with and for people with IDD and their friends, families and advocates. This Montgomery County-based, groundbreaking clinic will be modeled after similar successful models in other parts of the country.
Makom is taking our first steps toward founding this culturally relevant healthcare clinic with $750,000 in federal funding secured by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) as part of the fiscal year 2023 omnibus funding law. “People with disabilities too often face inequities in healthcare. That’s why I was proud to secure this direct federal investment to help Makom stand up a comprehensive primary care center that is fully accessible and equipped for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The funding will purchase accessible, highly-specialized medical equipment—one of the most expensive capital investments and critical components of a healthcare clinic for people with IDD. Makom will continue the development of this system of healthcare over the next 2 years, expecting to launch in 2025. Learn more about Makom and our work to support people with IDD in the DMV at MakomLife.org