Partner Eve Hill was recently quoted in a Kaiser Health News article entitled, “Blind to Problems: How VA’s Electronic Record System Shuts Out Visually Impaired Patients,” which discusses the new electronic healthcare records system that is inaccessible to over a million U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients who are visually impaired or blind. USA Today republished the article, helping bringing attention nationwide to the issues veterans with disabilities face getting accessible medical care from the federal agency.
The article focuses on the new electronic administrative software implemented by the VA that has made it difficult for their visually impaired and blind patients and employees to access records and communicate with healthcare providers. The new system failed multiple accessibility tests, including working with adaptive equipment, but the VA still moved forward with implementation. The article also highlights how similar accessibility issues are all too prevalent in the private healthcare sector, as well – an ever-increasing concern as the use of telehealth services becomes more and more common.
Eve, one of the nation’s leading disability rights attorneys, is a forceful advocate for increased accountability and transparency when it comes to organizations’ accessible technology policies and usage. Federal agencies like the VA are required to purchase, develop and use only accessible technology under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. However, the VA didn’t hold its technology vendor accountable. And like many technology companies, as Eve said: “In the rush to be the first one, they put accessibility on the back burner.”
Recently, Eve testified on accessible federal technology before the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging during its hearing entitled “Click Here: Accessible Federal Technology for People with Disabilities, Older Americans, and Veterans.” During her testimony, Eve offered her insight on the meaning and history of technology accessibility law as it pertains to Section 508’s requirements that all federal agencies to make all their information technology accessible to people with disabilities. She also addressed areas where government oversight and accountability can be strengthened and best practices for achieving/maintaining web and technology accessibility in the federal government.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EVE HILL
In February 2017, Eve Hill joined Brown Goldstein & Levy, where she continues to pursue her devotion to civil rights. Her wide-ranging experience complements the firm’s dedication to high-impact disability rights cases and its advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families. Eve is leader of Inclusivity, BGL’s Strategic Consulting Group.
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“Blind to problems: How VA’s electronic record system shuts out visually impaired patients.” | Salon (October 29, 2022)