Newsletter: March 19, 2020

Northeast ADA Center News Bulletin: March 19, 2020

Updates from the Northeast ADA Center:

Free Webinar - Implementing the ADA in a Health Care Setting

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 12:00 PM EST - 1:00 PM EST
Presenters: Joe Zesski, Program Manager, Northeast ADA Center
Sally Heron, Ithaca Center Manager, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York

People with disabilities face a variety of potential barriers in accessing health care. The physical environment, communication, policies, and a provider's lack of disability awareness can pose challenges for patients with disabilities, their companions, and for health care employees with disabilities. This webinar will provide an overview of these general challenges and then share the lessons learned from the Northeast ADA's collaboration with Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes (PPSFL); now known as Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. PPSFL is a small health care provider that has partnered with the Northeast ADA on a research effort known as a Customized Service Agreement (CSA). The research project is intended to assist partners to better implement the ADA into their organizations. Joe Zesski and Sally Heron will address what the CSA has meant for the Northeast ADA and PPSFL, and describe what has been gained as a result.

If you require any reasonable accommodations in order to participate in the event, please notify the Northeast ADA Center 72 hours prior to the event. The Northeast ADA Center will make every reasonable effort to secure an accommodation that will meet your needs. To register go to:

What's New in Our Region:

In Queens Courts, Unequal Access to Justice Starts at the Stairs

The wheelchair lift at the Queens Supreme Courthouse in Jamaica does not get used, but it is not broken. City and state officials cannot agree on whose responsibility it is to operate the lift on Sutphin Boulevard. State court officers say they do not even have the key needed to turn it on. In an investigation of Queens' court facilities; at least six have physical challenges to people with mobility issues. Under local, state and federal laws, however, courthouses must provide full and equal access to people with disabilities. In March 2015, the nonprofit New York Lawyers for the Public Interest reviewed 10 courthouses in the five boroughs and concluded that people with disabilities did not have "meaningful access to justice in a most fundamental way." To read more about this go to:

Funds for New Yorkers with Developmental Disabilities May Be Cut

A group of the state's largest nonprofit associations representing service providers supporting New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities claim the state is not only ignoring their pleas for more funding, but pulling already promised money amid an ongoing Medicaid budget battle. Advocates argue that there has been no cost-of-living increase in 10 years and the planned salary rate increases don't cover administrative employees. To read more about this go to:

‘Register Ready' Helps NJ Residents with Disabilities to Be Prepared For Disasters

"Register Ready - New Jersey's Special Needs Registry for Disasters" allows New Jersey residents with disabilities and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency. The NJ Special Needs Registry is free, voluntary, strictly confidential and a way to protect residents in a major emergency. To read more about this go to:

Push to Expand Medicaid Coverage for NJ Disability Services

In an effort to support young people with disabilities in higher education, NJ legislators have introduced five bills for consideration that would expand coverage for personal aides and lower the age to qualify for more specialized assistance. Individuals with significant disabilities need to be able to count on sufficient support, the legislators said, especially if they are facing challenges like living on a college campus in another state. They said the state's current Medicaid regulations are inflexible and make it hard for out-of-state students to get the help they need. To read more about this go to:

What's New in the Rest of the Country:

Steel Painters Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

Steel Painters, LLC, an industrial sandblasting and painting Services Company based in Beaumont, Texas, has agreed to pay monetary damages and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced. The case involved a fired employee who was terminated because of past opioid addiction. The employee disclosed their use of Methadone prior to a company drug screening but when they tested positive, was let go because he could not provide a form from the clinic due to their confidentiality rules. The EEOC and Steel Painters agreed to settle the case by consent decree before trial. The two-year decree, signed and entered by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone on Feb. 25, provides for compensatory damages to the employee. The decree also requires the company to modify its prescrip¬tion drug verification policy to provide alternative medical verification procedures. To read more about this go to:

Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA Reaches ADA Settlement Agreement

Tufts Medical Center has committed to a number of renovations at many of its 16 buildings owned or leased by the hospital in an effort to resolve allegations that they were not accessible to people with disabilities. Renovations include adding directional signage to accessible toilet rooms, making a minimum of 10% of patient sleeping rooms accessible, as well as takinge all reasonable steps to ensure, where commercially available, that equipment purchased or leased after the Effective Date of the Agreement, is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. To read the full agreement go to:

Developmental Disabilities Network Journal (DDNJ) to Launch

The Developmental Disabilities Network Journal (DDNJ) will be launching soon. DDNJ is an open-source academic journal that publishes scholarship about disability systems and the impact of the Developmental Disabilities Network. This journal specifically highlights programs, practices, and policies that encourage the full inclusion of people with disabilities in communities and all aspects of public life. DDNJ publishes research, program evaluation, policy analyses, research to practice briefs, and editorials that demonstrate the value and impact of the Developmental Disabilities network and similar programs.

DDJN is an open-source academic journal, hosted by the Utah Center for Persons with Disabilities and DigitalCommons at Utah State University. To learn more, please visit

HUD Proposes New Rule Recognizing Additional Building Codes and Standards to Encourage More Housing Development

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a proposed rule that would recognize additional sets of standards and model building code editions that, when followed in the design and construction of new multifamily housing, will ensure compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act requires that multifamily housing built after March 1991 contain accessible features for people with disabilities. Requirements include accessible common areas in buildings and developments, usable bathrooms and kitchens, wider doors, and environmental controls that can be reached by persons who use wheelchairs. The failure to include these features in buildings constructed after March 1991 violates federal law and makes a property difficult or impossible for persons with disabilities to use. To read more about this go to:

Opportunities for You!

U.S. Access Board Seeks Executive Director

The U.S. Access Board is accepting applications for the position of Executive Director (SES). You can find the vacancy posted on the USAJobs website: Vacancy Announcement #20-AB-2-SES. Applications are due April 20, 2020. For further information, contact the Applicant Call Center at (304) 480-7300 or by email at

Free Webinar-Using the ADA and ABA Standards Series: Chapter 3: Building Blocks

Thursday, April 2, 2020
2:30 PM Eastern Time Zone
Speakers: Sarah Presley, Accessibility Specialist, Access Board and
Juliet Shoultz, Transportation Engineer, Office of Technical and Information Services

This session will review "Building Block" provisions in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards (Chapter 3) that are the foundation for many technical specifications in standards. These requirements apply to a wide range of elements, spaces, and rooms covered by the standards. They address ground and floor surfaces, clear floor space, knee and toe clearances, turning space, reach ranges, operable parts, and protruding objects. Presenters will address common sources of confusion and frequently asked questions about these provisions. To register go to:

Free Webinar-ADA National Network Learning Session: Accessible Medical Diagnostic Equipment and Prescription Drug Container Labels

Thursday, March 26th, 2020
11:30 AM PDT - 1:00 PM PDT

The Access Board, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has issued accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment. These standards provide design criteria for examination tables and chairs, including those used for dental or optical exams and procedures, weight scales, radiological equipment, mammography equipment and other equipment used for diagnostic purposes by health professionals. Additionally, presenters will cover the advisory guidance for making information on prescription drug container labels accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired or who are elderly. To register go to:

Special Spotlight:

Practical and Legal Labor and Employment Considerations for United States Employers Responding to the Coronavirus

Coronavirus is continually dominating news cycles and has had major impacts on global travel, financial markets, and supply chains. As the virus spreads and experts' understanding of it continues to evolve, employers find themselves asking what precautionary measures they can or should take in response to the outbreak and its risks, how to respond when problems arise. Suggestions include having a point person for information, developing action plans and updating policies, as well as looking at overall workplace safety. To read about these and other suggestions go to:

Other Corona Virus news: