Access Standards Proposed for Medical Diagnostic Equipment under the ACA

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) has published a proposed rule that would establish accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment, as mandated by the ACA. The proposed standards contain minimum technical criteria to ensure that medical diagnostic equipment, including examination tables, examination chairs, weight scales, mammography equipment, and other imaging equipment used by health care providers for diagnostic purposes are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The standards are intended to allow independent entry to, use of, and exit from the equipment by individuals with disabilities to the maximum extent possible. While the Access Board standards do not impose any mandatory requirements on health care providers or medical device manufacturers, other “enforcing authorities” (a federal, state, or local government agency that enforces laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, or regulates health care facilities) may issue regulations or adopt policies that require health care providers subject to their jurisdiction to acquire accessible medical diagnostic equipment that conforms to the standards. The Access Board is accepting comments on the proposed standards until June 8, 2012; hearings on the proposal also are scheduled for March 14 and May 8.

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