Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act
On July 29th, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) introduced the Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act (H.R. 4853) in the House of Representatives. This act aims to make home use medical equipment and devices accessible to blind and visually impaired Americans. The bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish nonvisual accessibility standards for Class II and III devices with digital interfaces. The FDA will, in consultation with the US Access Board,, set regulations and a final rule according to those standards. Current cosponsors of H.R. 4853 include: Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02), Deborah Ross (D-NC-02), and Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11). The bill currently has no companion in the Senate.
The majority of home use medical devices and out-patient equipment utilize digital display interfaces that are inaccessible to blind and visually impaired users. Devices such as glucose monitors, blood pressure readers, and at-home chemotherapy treatments do not have nonvisual accessibility features, such as text to speech output, tactile markings, or audible tones. As a result, it is very difficult for blind and visually impaired individuals to use medical devices properly and safely, making it difficult for these individuals to manage their health independently. The passage of this bill would ensure that product manufacturers incorporate accessible design in the beginning stages of development.
Call to Action
We encourage all ACB members and friends to contact their Representatives and urge them to cosponsor and support the Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act (H.R. 4853).
To find your Representative’s contact information, visit www.house.gov and search by your 5 digit zip code. You can also get connected to your member’s office directly by calling the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
When writing or calling your Representative, please let them know that you are a constituent and urge them to support and cosponsor the Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act (H.R. 4853). Be sure to share your personal story when dealing with inaccessible medical equipment and let them know what it would mean for you and all other people living with vision loss to have independent control over your health.
Please share your advocacy efforts with the ACB National Office by emailing [email protected] or by calling Swatha Nandhakumar, ACB’s Advocacy & Outreach Specialist, at (202) 467-5081.
Thank you and keep advocating!