On July 26, HCA Healthcare celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At HCA Healthcare, we are committed to supporting our colleagues, patients, and their companions with disabilities. We are dedicated to ensuring that persons with disabilities are treated with dignity and respect and provided equal opportunity to fully participate in the workplace and equitably access our quality health care services.

#DYK: According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% (1 in 4) of all adults in the United States have some type of disability

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public, including access to quality health care services. Its purpose is to ensure all people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

“HCA Healthcare recognizes the diverse backgrounds of our patients and their companions, and we are committed to  providing equitable access to culturally competent patient-centered care,” said Rachel Peavyhouse, HCA Healthcare’s equity of care director.

Our equity compliance coordinators across the organization undergo a robust and ongoing training program that supports their work conducting regular reviews of accessibility needs in the communities we serve, ensuring we’re following access to services policies and procedures and developing a culture of inclusion.

Our focus on equity of care has resulted in strategies to increase physical access to our sites of care, web and digital accessibility, as well as accommodation of individuals with accessibility and special needs — including those who are limited in English proficiency, are deaf or hard-of-hearing, blind or have low vision, or utilize service animals.

On this 30th Anniversary of the ADA, we reflect on the many stories of healthcare colleagues who took decisive action to ensure equitable access to health care services for our patients and their companions with disabilities.

Emmanuel and Dean’s story:  

Two decades ago, an electrical accident sent Emmanuel Martinez to the Joseph M. Still Burn Unit at Doctors Hospital of Augusta where he ended up losing both legs, his right arm, and a finger on his left hand. When he transferred to the rehabilitation floor, he was greeted by Dean Beasley, the former Inpatient Rehab director, who quickly learned of his patient’s affinity for writing, painting and drawing.

Dean remembered a movie he saw about a woman who was quadriplegic, Joni Eareckson Tada, and showed the patient the video of Joni painting with her mouth. After seeing how inspired the patient was, Dean provided all the supplies needed for the patient to start creating his own artwork. The patient started with charcoal drawings, then acrylics, then with oil. The patient was so inspired that he enrolled in the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art after completing rehabilitation.

Emmanuel Martinez turned to painting after a burn injury that required amputations of both of his legs, his dominant right arm and part of his left hand.

“Just over twenty years ago, a young man came into my life who ended up ministering to me and my staff as much (or more) than we ended up providing care for him,” said Dean, who now holds the role of ethics and compliance officer at Doctors Hospital of Augusta.

After completing rehabilitation, Emmanuel Martinez realized his dream by enrolling in art school.

“Emmanuel suffered an incredibly traumatic burn injury with subsequent amputations of both legs, his dominant right arm and part of his left hand. Nothing we did for him was found in any textbook, he was one of a kind,” Dean continues. “Due to advances led, in part by the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we were able to fit him with specialized equipment, unique prosthetics and the best medical care the entire hospital could provide.”

To this day, Emmanuel still creates beautiful art.

Emmanuel Martinez (left) and HCA Healthcare colleague, Dean Beasley (right) reunited.

Each of us have the privilege and responsibility daily to provide patient-centered care that truly makes a difference. Thank you to Dean and all of our colleagues who demonstrate this level of commitment to the care and improvement of human life.

To learn more about HCA Healthcare’s commitment to the ADA and our Equity of Care Program and Access to Services, visit here.

Nashville-based HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, comprising 186 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 21 states and the United Kingdom.