Healthy Blue Kansas backs training course for docs on treating patients intellectual disabilities

Kansas physicians and clinicians will have free access to a course that aims to teach the fundamentals of providing care to patients with intellectual disabilities.

The program is sponsored by Healthy Blue Kansas, a partnership between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and Anthem Partnership Holding Company. The curriculum is developed by the Health Equity Through Clinician Education on IDD Initiative and educates physicians in a way that “improves outcomes, reduces suffering and prevents unnecessary death in patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” according to IntellectAbility’s website.

According to a recent survey from Harvard Medical School, more than 80% of surveyed physicians perceived people with significant disabilities to have a poorer quality of life than non-disabled people, and only 40% rated themselves as feeling “very confident” about their ability to provide the same level of healthcare to their patients with disabilities. Only 56% agreed that they welcome patients with disabilities into their practices.

“Physicians and other clinicians want to embrace and support people with disabilities, but most have not received education in disability-competent healthcare,” said Craig Escudé, M.D., president of IntellectAbility and the curriculum's author, in a news release. “This results in a culture of fear and uncertainty that leaves people with IDD at the mercy of a healthcare system that doesn’t understand their needs.”

The course is expected to take 4.5 hours, contains six modules and allows participants to learn from real-life case studies. The National Council on Disability requires healthcare professionals to receive disability competency education.

“This is a “win-win” for Kansas physicians and other clinicians,” said Escudé. “At the same time you are increasing your disability healthcare competence, you can earn contact hours toward your license renewal.”

Based on a study conducted by William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine, researchers found that 94% of respondents learned information about the IDD field they were previously unaware of before completing the course.