The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a historic notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Once enacted, this rule will be a substantial federal advancement towards health equity and access for people with disabilities in American history.
What is Section 504?
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects people from discrimination in receiving healthcare.
- It also prevents discrimination in programs that receive federal funding.
What does this mean?
- Medical Treatment
- Prohibits making healthcare decisions based on disability stereotypes.
- Prohibits discrimination in organ transplantation because of a disability.
- Prohibits discriminatory crisis standards of care.
- Prohibits judgement that an individual will be a burden on others.
- Prohibits the use of value of life assessments in treatment decisions.
- Child Welfare Programs and Activities
- Protects parents with disabilities within the child welfare system to keep families together.
- Prohibits the child welfare system from placing kids with disabilities in restrictive settings.
- Web and Mobile Accessibility
- Ensures that web content and mobile apps are accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
- The proposed update defines what accessibility means with very specific rules and standards.
- Accessible Medical Equipment
- Eliminates barriers to accessible medical equipment for people with disabilities.
- The proposed updates defines standards for medical equipment.
- Requires doctor’s offices to have an accessible exam table.
- Requires doctor’s offices to have an accessible weight scale.
- Home and Community Based Services
- The rule requires services to be available in the most integrated setting.
- If a person with a disability wants services in their community, they should have access to the services when reasonably accommodated.
Share your experience through public comment!
Comments are due on or before November 13, 2023.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is seeking public comment to better understand your experiences with healthcare and discrimination.
You can submit your public comment two ways:
- Online – visit http://www.regulations.gov and search RIN 0945-AA15
- By Mail – mail your comments to:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights
Attention: 504 NPRM (RIN 0945-AA15)
Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20201.