Other Health Care Information
Learn what to do in different health care situations, including emergencies, and how to make sure that you get the communications access (interpreters, CART, auxiliary aids) you need. Watch an accessible video series with American Sign Language (ASL), open captions, voiceovers, and Microsoft Word transcripts of audio content with video descriptions included. The video series provides a guide to topics such as what your rights are, where you can go for help, what you can do in advance, what you should do in health care emergencies, and what to do if you don’t get the assistance you need.
People who are deaf and hard of hearing comprise 10% of the population. However, this number is expected to grow as our population ages. Currently, 30% of people over 65 have hearing loss. (CDC) We also anticipate the percentage of Americans with hearing loss to increase because of its prevalence in our veteran population. Hearing loss is the number one disability reported by veterans. 70,000 of more than 1.3 million troops who have served in Iraq collect disability for tinnitus. 58,000 collect disability for hearing loss. For a summary of data from the CDC compiled by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division click here.
Hearing Loss and Children
1 to 3 babies per 1000 screened at birth have hearing loss. In addition, hearing loss has increased 5% in adolescents over the past give years. For more information visit the CDC’s webpage concerning hearing loss.
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention in Minnesota
There is limited data available about the educational success of adolescents who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing. The only national study available finds that children who are deaf and hard of hearing graduate with a fourth grade reading level. Research shows that if babies are screened at birth and receive early intervention many can graduate on par with their hearing peers. Click here to read more about what is happening with EHDI in Minnesota.
Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Health Care Disparities
There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the health disparities of the signing deaf community and of people who are hard of hearing. Many people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing experience barriers to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care or communication access to health care. Until 2007 hearing screening was not mandated at birth in Minnesota. Advocates have responded by:
- Making changes in public policy
- Filing lawsuits that have resulted in increased access to interpreters
- Creatnig accessible and culturally appropriate programs
Making Changes in Public Policy
MCDHH worked with advocates to pass the following laws or funds: Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, hearing aid insurance mandate for children birth to 18, intervener and support service providers for children and adults who are deafblind, mental health assessments in greater Minnesota for children who are deaf and hard of hearing (this program has been eliminated), and sign language interpreters covered by MA in facilities with fewer than 50 employees
Filing Lawsuits for Better Access
As a result of litigation, a standard of care has been developed for hospitals across the state. These lawsuits and settlements were filed by the Rick MacPherson of the Disability Law Center and courageous patients who fought for better access to care. All medical providers who have signed settlement agreements have agreed to a common framework- that there will be interpreters or other aids provided in clinics, nursing homes and hospital settings. The following hospitals have signed settlement agreements: Fairview Health Care System, two Alina hospitals, Hennepin County Medical Center, Health East, North Memorial, two urgent care centers, Health Partners and Apple Valley Medical Center, and one nursing home. Several other lawsuits/settlements are in process.
Creating Accessible and Culturally Appropriate Programs
Minnesota Hospital Consortium provides on-call sign language interpreter services. It was created in response to lawsuits. 100% emergency interpreter requests filled since inception.
Deaf Community Health Workers Minnesota is the first state to have Community Health Workers (CHW) who are Deaf. Community Health Workers come from the communities or cultures of the people they serve. A Deaf CHW in the healthcare setting helps reduce medical errors, increase communication, and increase patient-doctor trust. Learn more here.
Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing one of a handful of specialized programs in the country for deaf and hard of hearing. Read further here.
Easy Street Collaboration between HCMC and DCHW for deaf immigrants. More here.
Sexuality and Family Planning Education Visit their website.
Domestic Violence Program and Health Education CSD Minnesota
Pink Deafies Come to the opening of the film!
Deaf Hospice End of life care supported entirely by volunteers. Learn more here
Sign Language Interpreting Program St. Catherine University
State Supported Programs
Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind Adult Mental Health Services Visit their website.
Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind Children’s Mental Health Services More information here
Deaf Hard of Hearing IMPACT A collaborative effort of Volunteers of America of Minnesota Mental Health Clinics and the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. Learn more.
Minnesota has many resources and many challenges. Many programs are underfunded and do not come close to meeting the needs of the population.
- Recognition of the health disparities that people who are deaf and hard of hearing experience by public health, health and human services, and foundations
- Have state agencies that are funded include culturally and linguistically appropriate services into their planning
- Include people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing in planning efforts and advisory boards to overcome health disparities
- Investment by private and community foundations in research and effective programs that will lead to better health outcomes
- Campaigns to prevent noise induced hearing loss
- Continued Investment in Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
- Expansion of telehealth and tele-education resources
- Continued support of Parent Guides
- Include Deaf Mentors in the services offered in the infant screening fee
For more information on health disparities visit this website