What is a disability? The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) defines disability as any condition or impairment of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for the disabled person to do certain activities and interact with the world around them. Disabled individuals experience activity limitation and participation restrictions. As a medical record review company assisting disability attorneys, we attach special significance to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities observed worldwide on December 3 every year. The medical records we review reveal how severe and debilitating disability can be, leaving the disabled person helpless and distraught. That is why speedy processing of disability claims becomes so crucial. On this important day dedicated to people with disabilities, the World Health Organization (WHO) joins partners around the world to observe this day appropriately.
It is estimated that more than 1 billion people are disabled and more people are predicted to become disabled as a result of the aging population and increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Therefore, it is important that countries worldwide wake up to this fact and introduce efficient mechanisms to successfully address the health concerns and requirements of disabled individuals. Studies such as those conducted by The Commonwealth Fund show that people who are disabled receive lower quality care and less preventive care. They also experience more chronic conditions than people without disabilities. When it comes to healthcare costs, disabled individuals are more likely to live below the federal poverty level compared to people who are not disabled.
In addition, people living with a disability are more likely to experience serious illness than their peers — and those with serious illness are more likely to have a disability than those who are not seriously ill. The deliberations on disability become all the more significant during this COVID-19 pandemic and the disability concerns associated with Long Covid.
Long Covid could qualify as a disability under the ADA and patients could get disability benefits for the same. Its seriousness is evident in the fact that people with Long Covid sometimes experience damage to the circulatory system, organ damage, and neurological damage. Some patients even experience mental health issues. Long Covid could also limit major life activities such as doing manual tasks, hearing, sleeping, sitting, standing, lifting, breathing, learning, writing, and so on. Besides, the normal functions of the immune system, neurological system, cardiovascular system, and circulatory system could also be affected. When claiming disability benefits for Long Covid, medical chart review should demonstrate the nature and extent of the disability and its impact on the patient’s day-to-day life.
A serious concern is whether long Covid patients will be able to return to work, or will have to exist permanently on disability benefits. There may be people looking for short-term disability benefits, and with a number of young people becoming infected with the coronavirus, there is the fear of a chronically ill future generation. Long-term disability, whether due to Covid-19 or some other health condition, can increase healthcare costs to a great extent. It could also put pressure on the workers’ compensation system and disability programs. A nature.com article highlights the possibility of around 30% of the Covid health burden could stem from disability triggered by Covid.
All disability programs – social security disability, private disability insurance, and workers’ compensation — must speed up medical records review and other associated processes so that the claims are quickly decided upon and benefits granted to deserving applicants. Given the significance of medical records, it should be ensured that the patients have easier access to testing and thereby be able to document their initial infection.
Let us look at how the day can be observed.
- Support people with disabilities and raise awareness about their condition, and how the community can be of assistance to them.
- Organize public discussions, forums, and campaigns in support of the day. Focus can be on disability concerns and how persons with disabilities and their families are handling the issues and leading their lives.
- Plan performances to highlight and celebrate the disabled individuals who are making valuable contributions to the society.
- Offer assistance to people with disabilities in one’s locality.
- Foster practical action to implement international norms and standards regarding people with disabilities, and help them participate in social life just as any other member of society.
Observing the International Day for Persons with Disabilities is beneficial in many ways. This observance helps build awareness about people living with disabilities. The community in general will be encouraged to think about the difficulties people with impairments face daily and empathize with them. Disability attorneys and the medical review companies like ours supporting them, work to win disability claims at the earliest so that their clients receive the financial benefits available as quickly as possible.