Health Care Policy Statement

Council Position:

Like all Oregonians, Oregonians with developmental disabilities should have access to appropriate, comprehensive care necessary to achieve optimal health, wellness and development so they may lead a full and productive life.

Health systems should recognize that to achieve these goals, some individuals with developmental disabilities may require more specialized services.

Oregonians with developmental disabilities face many barriers to quality health care and frequently lack access to basic medical coverage and health care providers trained to
meet their needs.

    Disability is a natural part of the human condition and should not diminish a person’s right to access high-quality, inclusive health care to promote health and wellness throughout one’s lifespan.

    If Oregon health care systems are to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities, they must include the following components:

    • Access to Basic, Comprehensive and Specialty Health Services Including:
    • Support and help individuals or families navigate the health system.
    • Benefit packages that meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities, including specialist referrals.
    • Medical, dental, behavioral health, substance abuse, habilitative and rehabilitative services to treat acute and chronic conditions and prevent secondary conditions.


    • Qualified and Culturally Competent Providers Who:
      • Treat people with developmental disabilities with respect.
      • Utilize person and family centered health care.
      • Are knowledgeable and trained to understand developmental disabilities and how they may impact an individual’s health care.
      • Consumer Choice Principles Recognizing:
        • All consumers have the right to make informed health care decisions, including the right to choose healthcare providers.
        • Reasonable accommodations, including extended appointments and accessible medical equipment, must be provided for an individual to access services.
        • People who do not have capacity to make their own health care decisions should have appropriate, surrogate decision makers who are familiar with the person’s desires and needs. When appropriate, a healthcare representative with legal authority to make health care decisions may act in this capacity. Providers should recognize these surrogates.
      • Strong Quality Assurance Measures That Enable Consumer Participation Including:
        • Health systems providing understandable information to consumers about services, consumer rights and responsibilities, grievance and appeals processes.
        • Consumer rights to appeal any benefit or enrollment decision whether a service denial, withholding of experimental treatment or forced treatment.
        • Health systems reporting data about health care access for people with disabilities.
        • Health systems involving people with developmental disabilities and advocates in health care administration and plan development.

      Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities Employment Policy Revised and Adopted December 2014.

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