Physical Access to Care - Fact Sheet


Department of Managed Health Care
Physical Access to Health Care Fact Sheet

If You Use a Wheelchair or Have a Hard Time Walking

Access to your doctor’s office or medical equipment

What is access?

It means you can get into the doctor’s office and onto the exam table and scale, and you can get the tests you need, like X-rays or mammograms.

Wheelchair entrance sign

Who needs access?

You might need it if you use a wheelchair, a scooter, a walker, a cane, or crutches, or if you have problems getting around, walking, balancing, or climbing stairs.

Why does access matter?

Lack of access can hurt your health. For example, if you can’t be weighed, your doctor may not know if you are gaining or losing weight. A change in weight can be a sign of a serious condition.

How do I ask for access? 

When you make an appointment, ask for what you need. You can use the checklist below when you make the call.

What if I can’t get the access I need?

You can file a complaint with your health plan. The phone number is on your membership card. If your health plan does not give you what you need, call the Help Center at 1-888-466-2219. You may also file a complaint online.

I was sent to a specialist, but I cannot get into her or his office. What can I do?

Your health plan must find a doctor with an office you can access. Call your plan and ask for what you need.

Do I have a right to access?

Yes. If you have a disability, California health laws protect your rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act also protects your rights.

Examples of access:

There are many ways to help people get access.

access ramp to facility


Exam table that lowers to 17-19 inches from the floor

You may need a table at the same height as your wheelchair to transfer from one to the other.

man transferring himself to exam table from wheelchairwoman transferring himself to exam table from wheelchair

Transfer help or equipment

You might need help to get on to an exam table. If staff can’t move you, look for an office with equipment. It might be attached to the ceiling, or moved from room to room.

man transferred to exam table using sling

Accessible scale

These are accessible scales. A wheelchair user can roll onto the scale platform. A patient with poor balance can walk onto the scale or get weighed sitting in a chair.

man weighed using accessible scaleman in wheelchair being weighed

What access do I need?

Each person has different needs. Check what you need in the list below. Before your appointment, talk to the doctor’s office about the things you checked.

Ask your doctor to keep a copy of this list in your medical records.

Access Checklist

  • I need a bus stop or parking space close to the building.
  • I need a path with ramps from the parking or bus to the building.
  • I need wide doorways to get into and through the building.
  • I need an accessible restroom.
  • I need an accessible scale.
  • I need an exam table that lowers to 17–19 inches from the floor.
  • I need help getting on and off the exam table.
  • I need to bring my service dog.

Other needs:

  • _______________________________
  • _______________________________
  • _______________________________