The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will adopt new accessibility standards issued by the U.S. Access Board to ensure access to medical diagnostic equipment (MDE) at its health care facilities. Under an agreement governing aquistions, the VA will require that new equipment meet the MDE standards which were published in January. The VA's health care nework, the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., includes 152 medical centers, nearly 800 community-based outpatient clinics, and over 125 nursing home care units.
Access to MDE has been problematic for people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids. The Board's standards provide design criteria for examination tables and chairs, including those used for dental or optical exams, weight scales, radiological equipment, mammography equipment and other equipment used for diagnostic purposes by health professionals.
"The Board applauds the VA for its initiative and leadership in advancing access to health care for all veterans, including those with disabilities," stated David M. Capozzi, the Board's Executive Director.
The MDE standards, as issued by the Board, are not mandatory unless adopted by a federal agency. The VA's use of these standards will help it meet responsibilities under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to federally funded programs and services. Other entities, including health care providers and state and local governments, can voluntarily adopt and apply the standards as well.
For further information on the MDE standards, visit the U.S. Access Board's website or contact Earlene Sesker at firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 272-0022 (v), or (202) 272-0091 (TTY). Questions about the new VA aquistion policy should be directed to Laurence Meyer at Laurence.Meyer@va.gov.
SOURCE: press releses