Adult Institute (YAI) Speaks on Medical Services for People with
doctor acted like he was doing me a big favor to see my child.
My son has been seeing a pediatrician for over 30 years. Neither
the doctor nor I know of any other options.”
nurses kept staring at me and my son in the waiting room. We had
been waiting for nearly two hours and he was acting up.”
These are the real stories of parents seeking medical care for
their children with developmental and/or learning disabilities.
Not a day goes by that I don’t hear parents relay similar scenarios.
They go to a neighborhood clinic, wait for hours, only to see
a doctor who doesn’t understand their child’s special needs. They
take time off from work to travel across New York City, seeking
a diagnosis, only to find few answers and more referrals to other
One appointment can turn into a nightmare of neglect at worst,
incomprehension at best. Premier HealthCare, a comprehensive medical
practice with doctors, dentists and specialists trained to treat
individuals with developmental and/or learning disabilities, is
as one mother told me “the answer to my prayers.”
And now Premier HealthCare has been cited in a landmark Surgeon
General’s report on improving the provision of health care to
people with mental retardation as a model medical practice.
Established in 1997, Premier HealthCare was developed in response
to the glaring gap of medical services available to this population.
The U.S. Public Health Service report, titled “Closing the Gap:
A National Blueprint for Improving the Health of Individuals with
Mental Retardation,” sets goals and an action plan for improving
the provision of medical services to people with mental retardation.
The report is based on presentations and discussions from the
U.S. Surgeon General’s Conference on Health Disparities and Mental
Retardation held in December.
with mental retardation are more likely to receive inappropriate
treatment, or be denied health care altogether,” Tommy G. Thompson,
Secretary of Health and Human Services, wrote in the report.
The Yale University School of Medicine recently published “The
Health Status and Needs of Individuals with Mental Retardation”
and reported: “. . . research on the access and quality of physical,
mental, ocular and dental health care demonstrates that individuals
with MR receive little medical care, compared with the general
population. . .”
with disabilities have been underserved when it comes to health
care for far too long,” said Dr. Pamela Singh, a Premier HealthCare
internist in Bayside, N.Y. “But when you take the time to get
to know the patients and their families, you know you are truly
making a difference in people’s lives. That’s what makes working
here so rewarding.”
R. Damiani, M.A., is Director of Clinical and Family Services
at the YAI/ National Institute for People with Disabilities Network.
Premier HealthCare is a member of the YAI/NIPD Network.#
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