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Health Care Access
Continuing its collaboration with the American Council of the Blind first announced in 2011, the American Cancer Society is making additional documents available in Braille and Large Print. The American Cancer Society is also continuing to provide a website that satisfies WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria. And, in addition to its accessible website and Braille and Large Print information, all American Cancer Society publications and brochures three pages or longer are available in Audio CD, Audio MP3 and electronic format sent as an email attachment or mailed on a disc. Brochures with fewer than 3 pages are available in electronic formats.
Last month, the American Cancer Society (ACS) announced a comprehensive initiative to improve access to its materials by people with visual impairments. Using the alternative dispute resolution method known as Structured Negotiations, ACS worked with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) to improve the accessibility of its website and to develop a pilot program for providing accessible information. As described in this post, print information is now available in Braille, Large Print, mp3, audio CD and accessible electronic formats.
Access to information is a civil right and is key to full inclusion of people with disabilities into modern society. Please share this post and help spread the word about the availability of cancer-related information in formats that people who are blind and visually impaired can read.
We urge the Board to adopt language in the area of self-service kiosks that will ensure that people with disabilities have real access to the new built environment – the environment where one machine dispenses prescriptions, another boarding passes, and yet another allows a student to select college classes.— Comments to the U.S. Access Board
The United States Access Board is currently considering proposed changes to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) that would require certain self-service kiosks to be accessible to people with disabilities. Based on their experience with Talking ATMs and tactile point of sale devices, the Law Office of Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian of Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian, prepared comments on the Board’s proposal for use by persons interested in accessible devices. Those comments, all or parts of which were incorporated into submissions filed with the Board by several organizations, are posted here.
On July 29, 2010, the United States Access Board will hold a public meeting about accessibility standards to be developed for diagnostic medical equipment. This meeting marks the beginning of a rule making process on these issues mandated by the federal health care bill passed in March, 2010.
In this post you can read the press release announcing the meeting, at which Lainey Feingold will be a panelist. Accessible medical equipment is crucial to the health and safety of people with disabilities. The Board’s rulemaking process should allow for public input on a wide range of issues such as the need for mammography equipment and dental chairs that can be accessed by wheelchair users, and the need for blood glucose meters and similar devices that can provide information in a format blind people can access.
The disability community lost a strong advocate on April 6 when San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner August J.P. Longo died unexpectedly in his home. In addition to his Commissioner title, August was well known for his role on the City’s Access Appeals Board, his position as Regional Director of the State Democratic Party, and other activism in state and local politics. Less known was his advocacy for accessible health care. It was in this capacity that my co-counsel Linda Dardarian and I came to know and appreciate August Longo.
On March 15, 2010 CNN posted an article about the use of iris scanners in a low income Bronx health clinic to prevent mix-ups among the patients. The high tech iris scanner, usually seen only in airport security systems, is an important and useful tool for the Bronx clinic, and a welcomed one in an under-served community. At the same time, this article is yet another reminder that technology advances in the health field have the potential to leave people with disabilities behind. If you don’t have an iris, an iris scanner cannot help you.