The ICS Healthcare Access Program

While federal, state and local laws require all health services to be accessible to people with disabilities, dramatic disparities in access to care persist. As a result, people with physical disabilities suffer disproportionately high rates of preventable conditions and mortality from treatable diseases.

Since 2008, ICS has led the expansion of access to healthcare for low-income New Yorkers with disabilities, starting with women’s health services and moving into primary care.

The ICS Healthcare Access Program was founded and overseen for many years by lifelong disability rights advocate Marilyn Saviola, who was honored by the New York City Health + Hospitals System for her decades of work expanding access to healthcare for people with physical disabilities. Today, her program works in partnership with women’s health and primary care providers throughout New York City to make preventative services and medical treatment available to this population.

Women’s health, diagnostic and primary care services

By helping ICS members with disabilities educate policymakers, healthcare providers, and funders about their difficulties trying to get healthcare, over ten years ICS was able to establish seven centers where accessible, disability-competent mammography, breast exams, and gynecological care are available. Later, in 2019, ICS supported the opening of a fully accessible, full-service radiology suite at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania. Next were added three sites where people with physical disabilities now have access to primary care.

A powerful focus on prevention

The ICS Healthcare Access Program is a critical part of our overall focus on prevention in order to help our members stay healthy and out of the hospital. We do this in a number of ways.

  • ICS provides healthcare providers with disability competence training and offers a blueprint for disability competent primary care.
  • Our strong relationships with disability competent healthcare providers, including specialists, benefit members with Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and other disabilities, helping to ensure that their care is coordinated and timely, so they can avoid the health crises that lead to emergency room visits and hospital stays.
  • The ICS Wound Care Team has an outstanding record of helping members prevent and health from painful, dangerous pressure injuries.
  • Our care navigators are experts in common health issues that people with disabilities face, including urinary tract infections and the need for preventative bowel and bladder management.

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