By Rachel Patterson, September 14, 2016
At their September 14, 2016, the United States Access Board – the board tasked with creating technical specifications for disability access – released long awaited standards on accessibility for medical diagnostic equipment. The rules include standards for exam tables, imaging equipment, dental chairs, scales, and other equipment.
Despite the over 25 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, too many medical offices and equipment remain inaccessible to people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users. Many people with paralysis have gone years or decades without important screenings like pap smears or even being weighed at the doctor’s office.
The Affordable Care Act called on the Access Board to release standards for medical diagnostic equipment to ensure accessibility. The Departments of Justice and Health & Human Services have already stated that they will enforce the new standards that were just released. The ACA also gives the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) the discretion to enforce the standards for new equipment that come before them for approval; the FDA has not yet stated if it plans to enforce the standards.
The Reeve Foundation looks forward to working with the Department of Justice, Department of Health & Human Services, and Food & Drug Administration to ensure that people living with paralysis can access the health care services they need.