|President Obama signs the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" into law.|
The health care reform measure recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama includes provisions to address access for people with disabilities to medical diagnostic equipment. The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" authorizes the Access Board to develop new access standards for medical diagnostic equipment including examination tables and chairs, weight scales, x-ray machines and other radiological equipment, and mammography equipment. Access to such equipment has been problematic under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"The Board welcomes this opportunity to improve access to medical care for millions of Americans with disabilities," states David Capozzi, the Board's Executive Director. "The standards to be developed will fill a critical gap by making sure that the equipment used to provide such care is accessible to all." The Board develops and maintains accessibility guidelines and standards for facilities, outdoor environments, transportation, and information and communication technologies under the ADA and other laws.
The law calls upon the Board to issue the standards within two years in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration. The standards are to address independent access to, and use of, equipment by people with disabilities to the maximum extent possible. The Board is also responsible for periodically reviewing and updating the standards. The law implements these provisions through amendments to the Rehabilitation Act.
For more information, contact David Baquis of the Access Board at firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 272-0013 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).
SEC. 4203. REMOVING BARRIERS AND IMPROVING ACCESS TO WELLNESS FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES.
Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end of the following:
SEC. 510. ESTABLISHMENT OF STANDARDS FOR ACCESSIBLE MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENT.
(a) Standards - Not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of the Affordable Health Choices Act, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board shall, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, promulgate regulatory standards in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act setting forth the minimum technical criteria for medical diagnostic equipment used in (or in conjunction with) physician's offices, clinics, emergency rooms, hospitals, and other medical settings. The standards shall ensure that such equipment is accessible to, and usable by, individuals with accessibility needs, and shall allow independent entry to, use of, and exit from the equipment by such individuals to the maximum extent possible.
(b) Medical Diagnostic Equipment Covered - The standards issued under subsection (a) for medical diagnostic equipment shall apply to equipment that includes examination tables, examination chairs (including chairs used for eye examinations or procedures, and dental examinations or procedures), weight scales, mammography equipment, x-ray machines, and other radiological equipment commonly used for diagnostic purposes by health professionals.
(c) Review and Amendment - The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, shall periodically review and, as appropriate, amend the standards in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
The complete text of the Act is available on the Library of Congress website at http://thomas.loc.gov/.