And technology is rapidly evolving accessibility for all of us; from simpler present-day improvements like digital voice assistants (Siri, Alexa) and internet-connected lightbulbs to the driverless cars that may be arriving in the near future.
It’s obvious that making our daily lives more accessible helps everyone, and there’s a healthy momentum around that. The healthcare industry – dedicated to all aspects of health and well-being – is committed to doing our part to improving accessibility.
A few ways in which Elevance Health contributes to improving access
Including people with lived expertise: In an effort to help modernize the healthcare infrastructure and transform health and long-term services for older adults and people with disabilities, Elevance Health created the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Healthcare Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities. This group provides guidance and policy recommendations to make sure everyone has the services and supports they need to live successfully in their communities.
This diverse group of nonpartisan community advocates and healthcare professionals has produced numerous reports, including the Declaration for Independence, which details six foundational principles that guide everything from benefit design to access to technology.
Promoting meaningful, competitive, and integrated employment for people with disabilities: National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October helps dispel harmful myths and stereotypes by acknowledging and recognizing the contributions of workers with disabilities and highlighting inclusive employment policies and practices.
Elevance Health sponsors dozens of NDEAM activities across the country in which employers can connect with people with disabilities outside of the typical hiring context. It’s an opportunity to promote disability as a central component of diverse recruitment and foster a greater understanding of inclusive hiring and retention. People with disabilities are in turn exposed to new possibilities of employment, exciting career tracks, and future educational opportunities.
Creating climate resiliency by supporting communities: The hardships created when people are cut off from electricity and temperature moderation are compounded for people with chronic health conditions or disabilities who can’t charge or use ventilators, wheelchairs, or other medical equipment. Responding when disasters and emergencies strike is another way Elevance Health works with communities to help keep people safe and healthy. We make sure they can get prescriptions refilled and access food, and we work with community partners to distribute free batteries, chargers, fans, flashlights, fuel and more.
While the progress initiated by the ADA continues, there’s plenty of room for improvement. The evolution of accessibility contributes to better health and independence for all of us.