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PPACA Amends Rehabilitation Act to Mandate Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment to Accommodate Individuals with Disabilities

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by Shawn Gilman and Frank C. Morris, Jr.

A little-noticed provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will significantly impact both health care manufacturers and providers.  The provision amends the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require regulations by March 23, 2012, mandating that all medical diagnostic equipment and health care provider locations be able to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities.  This requirement would mean a redesign of both diagnostic equipment and locations for patient interactions to assure that individuals with disabilities who could not utilize currently available diagnostic equipment or provider locations will, in the future, have access to the care and services available to individuals without disabilities.  They must be able to have access to—and independently be able to enter, use, and exit—the equipment to the maximum extent possible.  This is significant because of the often high cost of diagnostic equipment and space requirements at provider locations.

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