Firmer Accessibility Standards Sought For Health Care

Doctors’ offices are supposed to be accessible to people with disabilities, but rules outlining what that means are going unenforced. Now, an independent federal agency is calling for change.

The National Council on Disability wants the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to issue new regulations outlining exact parameters for what constitutes accessible medical and diagnostic equipment.

The standards already exist. They were published in 2017 by the Access Board, a federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities, in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration. But since the so-called Standards for Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment haven’t been formally adopted by the federal agencies responsible for enforcement, they lack teeth.

The recommendations from the National Council on Disability, which is charged with advising the president and Congress on disability issues, come in a 75-page report outlining the barriers still present as people with disabilities seek health care.

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