The Access Board issued new accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment (MDE) on January 9, 2017 under section 510 of the Rehabilitation Act. The standards provide design criteria for examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological and mammography equipment, and other diagnostic equipment that are accessible to people with disabilities. They include requirements for equipment that requires transfer from mobility aids and address transfer surfaces, support rails, armrests, and other features. The Board developed the standards in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration.
Barriers to diagnostic equipment include equipment height and other dimensions, the lack of supports and features necessary for transfer, and the characteristics of contact surfaces. The standards address these as well as other features such as operable parts and patient instructions. The provisions are organized based on use position (standing, lying down or seated) and whether transfer from wheelchairs is necessary.
As issued by the Board, the standards are not mandatory on health care providers and equipment manufacturers. The U.S. Department of Justice may adopt them as mandatory requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other federal agencies may implement them as well under the Rehabilitation Act, which requires access to federally-funded programs and services.
For those interested in obtaining further information, a free webinar is available on March 2, 2:30 pm-4 pm (ET). Visit their website for details.