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‘Ohana Health Plan Awards Grants to Hawaii Providers to Help Improve Access for Patients Living with Disabilities

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Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 8:00 AM EDT|Updated: 20 hours ago

KAPOLEI, Hawaii, Oct. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — ‘Ohana Health Plan announced today the recipients of its Hawaii Barrier Removal Fund program, which will distribute more than $80,000 in grants to providers across the state to help make healthcare more accessible for patients living with disabilities.

(PRNewsfoto/'Ohana Health Plan)
(PRNewsfoto/’Ohana Health Plan)

One of the most prominent challenges for people with physical disabilities is overcoming the barriers to entering and navigating healthcare facilities, including inaccessible entrances, hallways, examination rooms, medical equipment, and restrooms, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Previous studies also show that Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities receive less preventive care due to such barriers.

“‘Ohana Health Plan is committed to providing equal access to quality healthcare and services that are physically and programmatically accessible for our members with disabilities and their companions,” said Sherie Smalley, M.D., ‘Ohana Health Plan’s Chief Medical Officer. “We are proud to work with the National Council on Independent Living to support our local providers and help them improve their practices to make them more equitable and accessible for all.”

In keeping with a history of removing healthcare barriers, ‘Ohana Health Plan’s parent company — Centene Corporation — launched its Provider Accessibility Initiative (PAI) in 2017. In January 2021, ‘Ohana Health Plan announced it had partnered with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) on its national Barrier Removal Fund (BRF) program, which aims to transition healthcare delivery into a fully accessible system for everyone. BRF helps remove architectural and programmatic barriers and aid in the purchase of medical equipment such as adjustable examination tables and weight scales.

Through the initiative, ‘Ohana Health Plan aims to increase the percentage of its in-network providers who meet minimum federal and state disability access standards. The Hawaii BRF grant recipients include:

  • Aloha Dermatology and Laser Center
  • Foot & Ankle Institute of Hawaii, LLC
  • MWC Cardiovascular Consultants, Inc.
  • Peggy M. Liao, M.D.
  • The Surgical Suites
  • West Hawaii Community Health Center

“Access for all people to receive healthcare services is a core value for us here at West Hawaii Community Health Center, and we are thrilled to receive the award of these funds to help support upgrades at our main facility in Kailua Kona,” said Richard Taaffe, West Hawaii’s Chief Executive Officer. “These funds will be used to install new accessible doors for our patients, which will improve access as well as the patients experience receiving care. Mahalo to ‘Ohana Health Plan for championing accessibility initiatives.”

“My elderly patients appreciate the door-assisted buttons and can now get through heavy doors easier,” said Micki Ly, M.D. of Aloha Dermatology and Laser Center. “Thank you, ‘Ohana, for making daily activities easier for our patients. My medical practice appreciates the grant that enables this handicap modification. It literally opens doors.”

“Words cannot describe how thankful I am for the generous donation made by ‘Ohana Health Plan and the NCIL,” said Attilio Avino Jr., DPM; FACFAS. “Your grant will improve beyond measure how my staff and I serve our patients with special needs. From all of us at the Foot & Ankle Institute of Hawaii, we will be forever grateful.”

NCIL is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. NCIL provided technical assistance to ‘Ohana Health Plan and coordinated with local Centers for Independent Living (CIL) to conduct the onsite accessibility reviews of BRF applicants, provide training, and distribute grant funds to BRF awardees to remediate priority disability access barriers.

For more information about the grants and the PAI, please visit https://ncil.org/provider-accessibility-initiative/.

About ‘Ohana Health Plan
‘Ohana Health Plan provides government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Wellcare) across the state. ‘Ohana Health Plan is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise committed to helping people live healthier lives. For more information, please visit www.ohanahealthplan.com.

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SOURCE ‘Ohana Health Plan

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