|Access Currents |
News from the U.S. Access Board • September/ October 2015
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- President Obama Appoints Board Members
- Board Hires Program Analyst
- Federal Agencies to Hold Section 508 Accessibility Forum
- HHS Proposes Equality Protections under the Affordable Care Act
- DOT Supplements Rules on Airport Accessibility under the Rehabilitation Act
- CDC Releases Estimates on the Prevalence of Certain Disabilities t
Dr. Victor Santiago
On September 8, President Barack Obama named Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda of Berkeley and Karen Tamley of Chicago to the Board. He also reappointed three incumbent Board members.
"I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to serve our country,"President Obama said in announcing the appointments. "They bring their years of experience and expertise to this Administration, and I look forward to working with them."
Dr. Pineda is President of World Enabled and the Pineda Foundation, positions he has held since founding the organizations in 2003. He previously served as the Chancellor's Post-Doctoral Fellow for Academic Diversity and as an Adjunct Professor in City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. He also was a Senior Research Fellow at the World Institute on Disability.
As Commissioner of the Chicago Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, Tamley leads numerous disability policy and compliance initiatives in city infrastructure, transportation, emergency preparedness, housing, schools and technology, and other areas. She also oversees the delivery of independent living services to city residents and represents the city on a number of boards and committees.
They succeed Board members Nancy Starnes of Sparta, New Jersey and Phillip D. Jenkins of Austin, Texas.
In addition, the President reappointed to the Board Regina Blye of Austin, Christopher S. Hart of Boston, and Mathew McCollough, M.P.A. of Washington, D.C. Blye is Executive Director of the Texas State Independent Living Council. Hart is an accessibility consultant who specializes in ADA compliance and Universal Design and who serves as a technical advisor to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Boston's disability community. McCollough heads the District of Columbia Developmental Disabilities Council which promotes independence and equal opportunity for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
TheBoard is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Half of its members are representatives from most of the Federal departments, and the other half is comprised of public members appointed by the President.
In August, Anita Kinney joined the staff of the Board as a program analyst in the Office of Administrative Services. Her responsibilities include supporting the agency's records management program by assisting the Records Officer and evaluating agency records in various media. She also manages Board publications and oversees their production, including in alternate formats, and distribution. In addition, she helps implement agency policies and procedures under laws and directives such as the Federal Records Act and Presidential e-Gov initiatives. Kinney earned a master's degree in Library and Information Science from Catholic University in May. While pursuing her degree, she was employed as a data analyst by the Prince George's County Memorial Library System where she undertook a project to identify trends in public library use and services.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Board, and other federal agencies will conduct a full-day interactive conference on Section 508 technology accessibility and inclusion on October 20. The Section 508 Interagency Accessibility Forum, which is free and open to federal employees and contractors, will provide an opportunity to learn, share, demonstrate, and encourage accessibility of electronic and information technology covered by Section 508. Participants will have a chance to share best practices, learn about new technologies, and network with other federal employees to broaden the dialog concerning Section 508 accessibility and inclusion. The conference will be held at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Further information is available at www.hhs.gov/web/508/508-conference.html.
Section 508 Interagency Accessibility Forum
October 20, 8:00 - 4:30
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
9:00 – 9:15 Welcome
9:15 – 10:15 CIO Panel
10:15 – 10:45 Break and Exhibits
10:45 – 11:45 Workshops
11:45 – 12:45 Lunch
12:45 – 1:30 Plenary Session: A conversation with Google
1:30 – 2:00 Break and Exhibits
2:00 – 3:00 Workshops
3:15 – 4:15 Workshops
On September 8, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued for public comment proposed regulations to promote equal access to health care and coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rule bans discrimination on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, including gender identity, age, or English proficiency. It applies to the insurance plans of the Health Insurance Marketplaces established under the ACA and to health programs and activities conducted or funded by HHS.
The rules require covered entities to provide effective communication to people with disabilities through auxiliary aids and services, including alternative formats and sign language interpretation. In addition, they must make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures to achieve equal access. The regulations also cover access to information technology, including websites, and to facilities, which must meet standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Barriers Act in new construction and alterations.
The proposed rule can be viewed and comments submitted through the regulations.gov website. Comments are due by November 9, 2015. For further information, visit the HHS website.
On August 5, the Department of Transportation (DOT) supplemented regulations for airport terminals receiving federal funding to improve access for passengers with disabilities, including those who use service animals. Under the new rules, at least one relief area for service animals must be provided in each terminal within one year. Airports must consult service animal training organizations on the relief area's design, size, and maintenance.
Provisions also improve access for people with hearing or mobility disabilities. High-contrast captioning is required at all times on airport TV and audio-visual display screens with captioning functionality. In addition, existing requirements for boarding access by lift or ramp where level-entry loading bridges is not available are reorganized and their application broadened to cover foreign carriers in addition to U.S. carriers. The rule revises regulations issued under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires access to programs and services that are funded or conducted by federal agencies, and is consistent with requirements DOT issued previously under the Air Carrier Access Act.
The new rule is available on regulations.gov. For further information, contact DOT at (202) 366-9342.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released findings on the prevalence of disability among U.S. adults. The report estimates that over 53 million adults in the U.S., over 22% of the population, have a disability pertaining to vision, cognition, mobility, self-care, or independent living. The report does not include estimates on people with hearing impairments or children under the age of 18. The estimates are based on the CDC's 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual state-based phone survey.
Disability in mobility (13.0%) was the most frequently reported type among those covered in the survey, followed by disability in cognition (10.6%), independent living (6.5%), vision (4.6%), and self-care (3.6%). Estimated state totals varied widely, from 16.4% (Minnesota) to 31.5% (Alabama), but mobility and cognitive disabilities were the most prevalent in all states. The findings also indicate that disability was more commonly reported by women, those 65 or older, and racial and ethnic minority groups.
The report "Prevalence of Disability and Disability Type Among Adults— United States, 2013," is available on the CDC's website.
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