FISA Foundation Hosts In-Person Event on Accessible Healthcare and Submits Public Comment

FISA Foundation Hosts In-Person Event on Accessible Healthcare and Submits Public Comment

Quality, supportive healthcare remains inaccessible for many people with disabilities. Many medical offices still do not have adjustable height exam tables that allow safe transfer for patients who can’t “hop up” onto an exam table. Many wheelchair users still are not weighed, and can’t get mammograms or other diagnostic tests because equipment requires standing. These experiences are unacceptable and require immediate change.

On February 7th, FISA Foundation hosted an in-person “Public Comment Party” to engage disability advocates on the Department of Justice’s proposed rule addressing access barriers related to medical and diagnostic equipment (MDE) in public healthcare facilities. This was a unique opportunity for the disability community and allies to advocate for accessible healthcare.

“I have been with her at doctor’s appointments where she can’t get on the exam table and the doctor has examined her in a chair. During one of the visits, the doctor initially wasn’t going to weigh her afraid that she was too unstable to stand on the scale. It wasn’t until we pushed back and reassurance from her that he decided to weigh her.”

Quote from A Disability AdvoCate’s Public comment Submission, detailing the heAlthcare barriers her mother faces

The Department of Justice’s proposed rule on MDE

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently published a proposed rule to make Medical and Diagnostic Equipment (like scales, adjustable height exam tables, dental chairs, mammogram machines, X-rays, etc.) accessible to people with disabilities. The proposed rule would apply only to health services covered by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which requires that public entities be accessible. The Department of Justice asked the public to submit comments on the proposed rule.

Sharing Lived Experiences

Below are additional excerpts from public comments submitted by attendees of the public comment party, highlighting the everyday barriers that people with disabilities face in accessing quality, equitable healthcare. It’s critical that healthcare facilities are accessible to people with disabilities.

“A Butler County woman with cross-disabilities told of a doctor’s office’s attempt to weigh her without an accessible scale.  The woman is not able to stand independently. To get her weighed two nurses stood on either side, guided her onto the scale where not being able to stand upright she remained in a tuck position for the three seconds until she needed to be back in her wheelchair. The weight was not significantly accurate causing her to think she weighed a much lower weight and then being very disappointed and concerned when weeks later when weighed accurately on an accessible scale her weight was much higher.”

“I am the mother of a 28-year-old son who has physical disabilities due to cerebral palsy. In many instances when he has medical appointments, the public healthcare facilities lack accessible medical equipment that would enable diagnosis and treatment. As a result, he is not receiving a level of healthcare that is equal to other people who do not have physical disabilities.”

FISA’s Public Comment

See below for the public comment that FISA Foundation submitted:

Thank you to our Partners

A huge thank you to our partners for helping us spread the word and put this event together! Achieva, PEAL Center, City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Taskforce on Disabilities, Disability Options Network, and Your Motivational Speaker by Rob Oliver

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