U.S. Access Board Virtual Public Meeting on Low Transfer Surface Height for Medical Diagnostic Equipment

The U.S. Access Board will hold a virtual public information meeting on accessible medical diagnostic equipment (MDE) and the adjustability of transfer surfaces for patients who use wheelchairs on May 12, 2022, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). The Board is hosting this meeting to gather information on the minimum heights that MDE with transfer surfaces, including examination tables and chairs and diagnostic imaging medical equipment with tables, can be adjusted to accommodate the broadest range of users.

The Board will use this information to assess specifications for transfer surfaces in its MDE Accessibility Standards. Published in January 2017, these standards address various features of MDE, including the range of adjustability of transfer surfaces. In the rulemaking, there was a lack of consensus on what the low height for transfer surfaces should be, and the Board specified a temporary range of 17 – 19 inches with a sunset provision to allow time for further study. As part of this effort, the Board commissioned an analysis of a database on wheelchair seat heights to estimate the number of people with seat heights within this specified range. Based on demographically representative sampling, the study estimates that 4.5% of wheelchair users have a seat height of 17 inches or less, 21% have a seat height of 18 inches or less, and 42% have a seat height of 19 inches or less.

In the upcoming meeting, the Board seeks additional information on the low transfer height for MDE transfer surfaces from disability advocates, manufacturers of MDE, researchers, and other stakeholders and interested parties. Specifically, the Board is interested in information on low transfer heights for adjustable MDE products that are currently on the market and any changes or innovations in their design and engineering that may have occurred since the Board issued its MDE standards. Additionally, the Board seeks information on the incremental costs for the design or redesign and manufacture of examination tables and chairs and diagnostic imaging medical equipment with tables that can provide a low transfer height of 17 inches.

As indicated in a published notice, the meeting is open to the public, but registration is required. Requests to speak during the meeting must be submitted via email to Rose Marie Bunales at bunales@access-board.gov by May 11, 2022. Please include the email subject line with “Request to Speak.” Speakers will be limited to three minutes during the meeting. Written comments may be submitted via email to mde@access-board.gov until May 27, 2022.

For further information, contact Bobby Stinnette of the Board by email at stinnette@access-board.gov or by phone at 1-202-272-0021. Communication access via real-time translation and sign language interpretation will be provided. To request additional reasonable accommodations for the virtual meeting please contact Bobby Stinnette by May 5, 2022.

Public Information Meeting on Low-Height Specification for MDE Transfer Surfaces
May 12, 2022, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Registration (free): Zoom Webinar Link
Contact: Bobby Stinnette of the Board at stinnette@access-board.gov or 1-202-272-0021