Phototherapy Medical Equipment - ADA Done Right [1/22/19]
Did you know that phototherapy for certain skin disorders is available as a health maintenance service? A phototherapy booth is similar to a tanning booth where a patient can go inside the phototherapy booth and be exposed to artificial light. The difference being that most phototherapy booths are designed for people to stand, or be vertical, when inside the booth. The photo below is of a common phototherapy booth designed for people who can stand while inside the booth. Notice the platform on the bottom of the phototherapy booth. This platform requires the patient to step up onto the platform, which brings the feet and ankles into the range of the light bulbs.
So the booth above would be difficult for someone in a wheel chair or using other mobility devices. At the Vanderbilt Dermatology Clinic in Nashville, TN, they also have a phototherapy booth with a removable platform and doors that open wider to allow a patient using mobility devices to use this therapy. See the photo below.
This is ADA done right! The Vanderbilt Dermatology Clinic has taken steps to make sure all patients can have access to this medical service and device.
According to the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Health and Human Services, accessibility of doctors' offices, clinics, and other health care providers is essential in providing medical care to people with disabilities. Due to barriers, individuals with disabilities are less likely to get routine preventative medical care than people without disabilities. Accessibility is not only legally required, it is important medically so that minor problems can be detected and treated before turning into major and possibly life-threatening problems.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in every day activities, including medical services. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities on the basis of their disability in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, including health programs and services. These statutes require medical care providers to make their services available in an accessible manner. This technical assistance publication provides guidance for medical care providers on the requirements of the ADA in medical settings with respect to people with mobility disabilities, which include, for example, those who use wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, crutches, or no mobility devices at all.
The ADA requires access to medical care services and the facilities where the services are provided. Private hospitals or medical offices are covered by Title III of the ADA as places of public accommodation. Public hospitals and clinics and medical offices operated by state and local governments are covered by Title II of the ADA as programs of the public entities. Section 504 covers any of these that receive federal financial assistance, which can include Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. The standards adopted under the ADA to ensure equal access to individuals with disabilities are generally the same as those required under Section 504.