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How Do I Know If My Website Is ADA Compliant?

By Dana H. Hoffman

Did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites?

The Act was implemented to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. Title I of the Act applies to employment. Title II applies to government agencies. Title III applies to places of public accommodation such as restaurants, hotels, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and retail stores.

When the ADA became law in 1990, you may have assessed hiring practices to comply with Section I related to employment. You may have hired a general contractor to ensure that your parking lot, elevator and office were accessible to persons with disabilities. Did you notify your website designer and IT department of the Act’s mandates to ensure that your website was accessible to persons with disabilities?

In 1990, the World Wide Web as we know it did not exist. As the Internet became more important in our daily lives, the Department of Justice, which is tasked with enforcement of the Act, began to forecast that the Act is applicable to websites as well as physical space.

The Act, as it currently exists, does not discuss websites and provides no guidance for achieving website compliance. Don’t wait for a patient to complain or, even worse, for a patient to file a lawsuit to enforce compliance. You could consider the following steps:

  • Ask your IT person/department to run a free, online scan. There are many options available that can help achieve minimal compliance.
  • If your website was designed by an outside vendor, ask the vendor if your site complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 A or AA.
  • If your website was designed internally, consider hiring a vendor to review its compliance.
  • If you anticipate a delay in assessing your site’s compliance, add a telephone number to your homepage so that persons with disabilities can obtain immediate assistance.
  • Implement a training program so that any employee with access to modify the website will know how to make changes that are compliant.
  • Expand your current discrimination policy to reflect an intent and on-going dedication to comply with the physical and digital requirements of the ADA.

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Current Rule

  • checkmark Created with Sketch. Five-tiered coding structure based on visit complexity
  • checkmark Created with Sketch. Documentation required to support each code

Proposed Rule

  • checkmark Created with Sketch. Would pay providers same rate for all E/M visits coded Level 2 to Level 5
  • checkmark Created with Sketch. Proposed blended rate - $135 for new patients and $93 for established ones
  • checkmark Created with Sketch. Includes add-on codes to capture services beyond what a standard visit might involve

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Checklist

  1. Review the subpoena. Is your patient a party (plaintiff or defendant)?

    • checkmark Created with Sketch. If no, and the patient is not a minor/incompetent, either move to quash the subpoena or request a Court order before producing the medical records.
    • checkmark Created with Sketch. If no, and the patient is a minor/incompetent, then check to ensure that the party requesting the records has signed a valid HIPAA authorization. If the party has signed a valid HIPAA authorization, go to No. 2 below. If the party has not signed a valid HIPAA authorization, you will either need to obtain an authorization, produce the records to the Court under seal, or move to quash the subpoena.
    • checkmark Created with Sketch. If yes, move to No. 2.
  2. Was the subpoena served on the patient (is there a cover letter and/or certificate of service that indicates that the patient has been provided a copy of the subpoena)?

    • checkmark Created with Sketch. If no, you will either need to obtain the patient’s authorization/consent or you need to move to quash the subpoena.
    • checkmark Created with Sketch. If there is no cover letter and/or certificate of service, call the attorney who sent the subpoena and ask and then obtain the response in writing.
    • checkmark Created with Sketch. If yes, move to No. 3.

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About the Author

Dana H. Hoffman

Dana H. Hoffman is a litigator, advisor and defender of the long term care, transportation, and electric industries. She frequently speaks on issues relevant to these industries, and she currently serves as PresidentElect for the Transportation Industry Defense Association (TIDA). Dana recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with Young Moore and Henderson, which she joined after graduating from Wake Forest School of Law.

More About Dana