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Public Meetings Set for Proposed Accessibility Standards for Medical Equipment

Seeking input, a federal agency will hold two public meetings on a series of draft standards aimed at making diagnostic equipment more accessible to people with disabilities.

The United States Access Board, which promotes accessible design of products, will have the first meeting on March 14 in Washington, D.C. and the second on May 8 in Atlanta, GA. There is also a comment period which closes on June 8.

The agency says Proposed Accessibility Standards for Medical Diagnostic are designed to “improve the quality of healthcare for individuals with disabilities, and ensure that they receive examinations, diagnostic procedures, and other healthcare services equal to those received by individuals without disabilities. The standards will facilitate independent transfers by individuals with disabilities onto and off of diagnostic equipment, and enable them to maintain their independence, confidence, and dignity.”

The standards address access to products such as examination tables and chairs, weight scales, and mammography equipment.

While the proposed standards are not in and of themselves mandatory, an agency such as the U.S. Department of Justice could compel a hospital or healthcare facility to acquire equipment that conforms to the standards, according to the board.

“Medical device manufacturers may have an economic incentive to produce accessible products that conform to the standards for healthcare providers who need to acquire accessible medical diagnostic equipment,” the board says.

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