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Access Board to Hold Forum on Access to Medical Diagnostic Equipment

June 23, 2010

On July 29 [2010] the U.S. Access Board will hold a public meeting on new accessibility standards to be developed for medical diagnostic equipment. The event will allow interested parties and members of the public to provide input on the approach to this rulemaking. The standards will cover access to examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological equipment, mammography equipment, and other types of medical diagnostic equipment. The health care bill signed into law in March, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, calls upon the Board to issue these standards in two years in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration.

The purpose of the meeting is to gather information from stakeholders, including consumers, equipment manufacturers, the health care industry, government agencies, and others with an interest in the new standards. The full-day meeting will begin with presentations by the Board on the rulemaking process, the regulatory steps involved, and a proposed timetable for completing the standards. The agenda will include panel discussions on various topics and opportunities for public comment. Subjects to be discussed and explored include the range of equipment to be addressed, access barriers to equipment, design challenges, key issues, reference standards, and other topics encompassed by this rulemaking.

The meeting is scheduled to run from 9:00 to 5:00 and will take place at the Board’s new meeting space at 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. For more information on the hearing or this rulemaking, visit the medical diagnostic equipment homepage or contact David Baquis at baquis@access-board.gov, 202-272-0013 (v), or 202-272-0082 (TTY).

Department of Justice Issues New Guidance on Accessible Medical Care

The Department of Justice (DOJ), which regulates and enforces key provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), recently issued new technical guidance on accessible medical care. Access for people with disabilities to medical care has been problematic and the subject of DOJ compliance investigations. The 19-page guide, Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities, outlines requirements and best practices for achieving access and covers exam rooms, including entry and circulation, exam tables and chairs, radiologic and mammography equipment, scales, available lift devices, transfer techniques, staff training, and common questions. The document is available on DOJ’s ADA website at www.ada.gov.

News source: U.S. Access Board