The ADA and Accessible Medical Equipment

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with mobility issues are entitled to the same quality of medical care as everyone else.  This equal care includes full body exams and weight and height measurements, which can only be performed with accessible medical equipment.  Health care providers that participate in federal financial programs such as Medicare are required, as a condition of participation, to operate their programs  and activities to so that they are readily accessible to people with disabilities.

The following excerpts from regulatory agencies provide more detail:

“The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 already require that covered medical care providers ensure the provision of medical care and services to persons with disabilities in a nondiscriminatory manner. These federal laws also require that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the providers’ medical services, including having access to health care facilities and to the medical equipment used to provide services. Accessible medical equipment is required in order to meet this nondiscrimination obligation and eliminate the barriers that inaccessible equipment can create for persons with disabilities. “

– United States Access Board, Medical Diagnostic Equipment Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee Final Report (2013)

“The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in everyday activities, including medical services. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities on the basis of their disability in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, including health programs and services. These statutes require medical care providers to make their services available in an accessible manner. “

– Access to Medical Care for Persons with Mobility Disabilities – U.S. Dept. of Justice and U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2010

“Both Title II and Title III of the ADA and Section 504 require that medical care providers provide individuals with disabilities:

  • full and equal access to their health care services and facilities; and
  • reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to make health care services fully available to individuals with disabilities, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services (i.e. alter the essential nature of the services).”

– Access to Medical Care for Persons with Mobility Disabilities – U.S. Dept. of Justice and U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2010

“[A] standard height, nonadjustable examining table constitutes an architectural barrier to persons with certain mobility impairments. Therefore, an adjustable table must be provided if it is readily achievable. “

– U.S. Department of Justice Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, (July 26, 2010).

“A patient’s weight is essential medical information used for diagnostics and treatment. Too often, individuals who use wheelchairs are not weighed at the doctor’s office or hospital, even though patients without disabilities are routinely weighed, because the provider does not have a scale that can accommodate a wheelchair. Medical providers should have an accessible scale with a platform large enough to fit a wheelchair, and with a high weight capacity for weighing an individual while seated in his or her wheelchair. Other options may include a scale integrated into a patient lift, hospital bed, or exam table.”

– Access to Medical Care for Persons with Mobility Disabilities – U.S. Dept. of Justice and U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2010

 

 

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