ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The United States Attorney’s Office announced a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Colonial Heights Vision Center Optometry, PC (CHVC), a professional eye care center located in Colonial Heights.
The settlement agreement resolves allegations that CHVC’s eye exam chair and equipment were not accessible to patients with reduced mobility, who can use mobility equipment such as walkers, scooters or wheelchairs, and that CHVC used to ask patients who use mobility devices to bring an attendant, such as a family member or friend, to facilitate manual transfer into the exam chair .
Medical facilities are not accessible by ADA standards unless medical equipment, such as diagnostic and treatment equipment, is made accessible to all patients, including those with reduced mobility. Accessibility to health care for people with disabilities is particularly essential for detecting and treating serious medical conditions, which can become life-threatening if patients with disabilities do not have equal access to care. Manual transfer of people with reduced mobility can be dangerous for both patients and caregivers, risking unnecessary injury.
“The resolution of this case represents this office’s continued commitment to ensuring compliance with the ADA’s requirement that people with disabilities have equal and independent access to health care,” said Jessica D. Aber, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “No patient should be denied health care because of a motor disability.”
To resolve this complaint, CHVC agreed to supplement its exam equipment, adopt new ADA policies that ensure patients with reduced mobility can independently attend appointments, be safely transferred to examination chair and have full and equal access to eye examinations. CHVC also agreed to pay $1,000 to the complaining patient, for whom CHVC was unable to provide an eye exam.
The case was handled by former Assistant United States Attorney Lauren “Lo” Stadler and Assistant United States Attorney Steven Gordon, who is the Civil Rights Enforcement Coordinator for the office. of the United States Attorney.
The Department of Justice has several resources to help healthcare entities comply with the ADA, including a technical assistance publication titled: Access to medical care for people with reduced mobility. For more information about the ADA and to access these publications, please visit http://www.ada.gov or call the Department of Justice’s ADA toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD). ADA complaints can be filed by email to email@example.com.
A copy of this press release can be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The asserted civil claims are only allegations; there was no determination of civil liability.