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Keywords:

  • intellectual disability;
  • policy;
  • health care;
  • health promotion

Abstract

This article extracts principles from two Surgeon General reports, Closing the Gap: A National Blueprint to Improve the Health of Persons with Mental Retardation (2002) and Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities (2005), and combines them with the Objectives from Chapter 6 of Healthy People 2010 to create a policy framework. This framework is used to review literature from the past decade on access to health care and health promotion for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Review of the literature indicates an emerging evidence base for health promotion programs for persons with IDD. Research in health care and health promotion access requires improvements in surveillance and measurement of quality of life, as well as increased participation of persons with IDD and their families in its implementation. While international guidelines for primary health care have been developed for people with IDD, US guidelines are specialty focused and address specific conditions. Despite its recognized importance, there is surprisingly little information on training programs for health care providers to improve care of persons with IDD. Financing of health care continues to threaten access to comprehensive care for persons with IDD, particularly regarding coordination of care and availability of providers who accept Medicaid patients. Community-based sources of health care have been slow to emerge, and there is clear need for assumption of responsibility for providing care to persons with IDD. Future US policy should include consideration of environmental factors in health care access. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. MRDD Research Reviews 2007;13:160–168.