(STL.News) – The federal government and a Newport-based optometry practice have reached a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to remove barriers to access for patients with disabilities.
The settlement results from an investigation that was initiated by a complaint from a patient, who was unable to enter exam rooms during her appointment at Opticare Vision Centers in Newport, Kentucky, because she was using a wheelchair. As part of the settlement, Opticare has agreed to construct a new exam room that will be accessible to patients using wheelchairs. The ADA prohibits places of public of accommodation, including the professional offices of health care providers, from discriminating against individuals with disabilities and requires them to remove architectural barriers to access.
“Investigations of ADA complaints are critical tools in preventing impediments to people’s access to public spaces, especially their access to healthcare services and facilities,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “We will continue our efforts to protect proper access to public spaces, and we appreciate Opticare’s assistance in resolving this complaint and investigation.”
This matter was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Carrie Pond as part of the office’s civil rights program and the Department of Justice’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, a partnership of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s offices across the nation, to target enforcement efforts on the critical area of health care for individuals with disabilities.
The year 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the ADA. The Justice Department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. The Department will continue to use its enforcement and technical assistance tools to eliminate unlawful discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
The Department has a number of publications available to assist entities to comply with the ADA, including publications specific to health care providers, as well as publications about tax credits available for providing access. For more information on the ADA and to access these publications, visit www.ada.gov.