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Access Board to Set Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment under Health Care Reform Law

March 23, 2010

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, which has been problematic, is not addressed by existing accessibility standards or regulations, including those issued 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 baquis@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0013 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).

News source with additional information on the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act"U.S. Access Board