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Archive for the "Laws and Standards" Topic

Accessibility and Healthcare: Challenges for Patients and Providers

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One out of every five people in the U.S. – that’s 56 million Americans – has a disability, and those individuals need access to healthcare. But often those disabilities create challenges in accessing healthcare services and technology. In this new blog series we’ll examine some of the most important issues related to accessibility and the health care industry. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we discuss: Challenges with Healthcare Technology Although new technology makes many aspects of healthcare easier for patients, that new technology is not always accessible to persons with disabilities. For example, many healthcare providers are switching… Read More

EU Directive 2016/2102/EU: Overview and Drivers

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Overview On October 26, 2016, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union issued Directive 2016/2102/EU (“the Directive”) to make public sector websites and mobile applications (“apps”) more accessible across the European Union (“EU”). The Directive requires EU countries to ensure that the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies meet common/harmonized European accessibility standards. The Directive will allow citizens with disabilities to more fully participate in society, wherever they reside or choose to move to. Common standards allow for providers to know what standards need to be met thus reducing the cost of operation in different… Read More

Key Features of the Section 508 Refresh

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As announced earlier this month, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the US Access Board’s final rules updating the standards for ICT covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as guidelines for Section 255 of the Communications Act. The updates make long-awaited changes to the federal digital accessibility requirements. The Section 508 refresh is expected to be published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2017, with an effective date of one year after the publication date. A safe harbor will exist for information and communication technology (ICT) that meets the current Section 508 standards.  After the effective… Read More

Section 508 Refresh Takes Another Step Forward

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has cleared the US Access Board’s final rule updating Section 508 standards and telecom guidelines. While the Rule has not been published yet, details are forthcoming. In our September blog post, US Access Board Approves Final Section 508 Rule – Sends to OMB For Last Review, we reported that the US Access Board voted to approve and forward the final rule text and preamble of the ICT Standards and Guidelines (aka the Section 508 Refresh) to the OMB for final review prior to publishing in the Federal Register. The vote gave OMB staff authority to make non-substantive changes…. Read More

What Will a Trump Presidency Mean for Digital Accessibility?

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In the wake of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, many are wondering how the new administration will affect the digital accessibility space. In the short term, we see it as unlikely that a Trump presidency will have a major impact on the status quo. The Americans with Disabilities Act Donald Trump has never specifically addressed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so it is difficult to predict what his stance would be. In the past, scaling back rights for people with disabilities has proven to be politically unpopular. Given that neither advancing nor curtailing the ADA is among Trump’s… Read More

Update to Section 508 Refresh Timeline

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The regulatory calendar for the Section 508 Refresh has been updated as of October 24, 2016. The rules will probably go into effect prior to the end of the current Federal year—just in time for year-end procurements!     Here is the updated calendar*: Milestone Period Date NPRM draft to OIRA for economic impact assessment DONE 3/31/2014 OIRA completes NPRM review DONE 6/29/14 OIRA review notes incorporated into draft NPRM DONE 2/17/2015 NPRM published in Federal Register DONE 2/27/2015 NPRM comment period DONE 5/28/2015 Board approves draft rule text DONE 9/14/2016 Rule submitted to OIRA for review DONE 10/24/2016 OIRA… Read More

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – Privacy Considerations

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This is the fifth and final article in a five-part series on accessibility and the Affordable Care Act. Please click here for parts one, two, three and four.  In responding to the most recent draft of the Section 1557 regulations, a variety of commenters noted that there were many accessibility issues associated with covered programs and services that also touched on patient confidentiality and privacy. For example: A blind patient is asked to complete required new patient documentation for their doctor. That documentation is inaccessible. Visual assistance is provided by a third party (nurse, friend, administrator) who helps the patient complete the forms. When… Read More

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – Technical Standards

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This is the fourth article in a five-part series on accessibility and the Affordable Care Act. Please click here for parts one, two, three and five.  The Section 1557 regulations do not require conformance to a specific standard such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA requirements. HHS contemplated doing so in the creation of the regulation but “OCR has decided not to adopt specific accessibility standards at this time” (81 FR 31426). While the HHS does not require conformance to a particular set of standards, the office “strongly encourages covered entities that offer health programs and activities through electronic and information technology to… Read More

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – Systems Covered

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This is the third article in a five-part series on accessibility and the Affordable Care Act. Please click here for parts one, two, four and five.  Section 1557 requires covered entities to make all health programs and activities provided through electronic and information technology accessible. This requirement is wide ranging and broadly relates to any aspects of the health care program or service provided in a digital form. This would include: Access to an online appointment system Accessible electronic billing and statements Comparison of health plans offered through a health insurance marketplace Information on the specific plan and benefits provided It is important to note that OCR… Read More

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – Implementing Accessibility Regulations

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This is the second article in a five-part series on accessibility and the Affordable Care Act. Please click here for parts one, three, four and five.  The section “Accessibility of electronic and information technology” (45 CFR § 92.204) contains the implementing regulations for Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. The rule provides for broad protection for individuals with disabilities and requires covered entities to make all programs and activities provided through digital channels to be accessible. The first requirement—paragraph (a)—defines the core of the regulation which requires that “health programs or activities provided through electronic and information technology are accessible to individuals with disabilities.” Paragraph (b)… Read More

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