WASHINGTON, DC - The Justice Department today announced its most comprehensive settlement agreements ever under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) concerning access to medical services for all persons with disabilities. The agreements with Washington Hospital Center and Valley Radiologists Medical Group ensure access to medical equipment, adjustable height beds, and information and communications. The settlements are part of the Department’s initiative to improve access to health care services and medical equipment for individuals with disabilities.
“Accessibility in health care is vital for all Americans, and securing such access for individuals with disabilities helps meet the promise of the ADA,” said Bradley J. Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We applaud these healthcare facilities for working with us to reach a successful resolution.”
The agreement with Washington Hospital Center resolves a lawsuit initiated by the Equal Rights Center, four individuals who use wheelchairs, and a Justice Department investigation of a complaint filed by ERC and the same individuals. The plaintiffs alleged that the hospital failed to provide accessible inpatient rooms and bathrooms, failed to provide adequate assistance with eating, drinking, and toileting when necessary, and provided unequal care because of inaccessible medical equipment.
Under the terms of the settlement, Washington Hospital Center has agreed to: renovate patient bedrooms to create a minimum of 35 ADA accessible patient rooms; survey existing hospital and patient care facilities and equipment for compliance with ADA standards; develop and implement a barrier removal plan; purchase accessible equipment, including patient beds and examination tables; review hospital policies and train staff to address the needs of individuals with disabilities; and appoint an ADA officer to oversee implementation of the agreement.
The Department also announced an agreement with Valley Radiologists Medical Group, Inc., a company that provides radiologic imaging services in eight locations in Northern California. This is the Department’s first agreement to specifically address access to radiologic equipment.
The ADA prohibits discrimination by public accommodations on the basis of disability, including the denial by medical facilities of equal medical services to individuals with disabilities. Those interested in finding out more about these agreements or seeking information about and how to comply with the ADA can call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at http://www.ada.gov.