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Presidential Release #479, February, 2019

From NFB.org - Fri, 02/01/2019 - 15:35
Presidential Release #479, February, 2019 rolivero Feb 1, 2019

A monthly message from Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, to be shared with every chapter of the organization.

Items covered in the February 2019 release include:
* Breaking news from the Washington Seminar #NFBInDC
* New and improved Federation website
* Promoting NFB summer programs 
* Launch of pilot testing for HathiTrust access program
* A Dream Makers Circle update
* Thank you to chapters contributing to our monthly giving program
* Federation Family notes
* Customary endings 


Resources: 
* Check out the new website http://www.nfb.org
* Washington Seminar information, including the fact sheets, is available at http://www.nfb.org/Washington-seminar
* NFB Summer programs - Review all at nfb.org/summer
* 2019 National Convention--July 7-12, 2019: Reservations for the Mandalay Bay can be made by calling 877-632-9001
* Dream Maker Circle - https://nfb.org/planned-giving
* NFB Pre-Authorized Contribution Program - https://nfb.org/images/nfb/pac-form-fillout-accessible-2018-final.pdf 

Episode Audio https://nfb.org/images/nfb/audio/podcast/presidential-releases-en/2019_02_engli…

Florida State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:04
Florida State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/florida.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date May 24, 2019 08:00:00 AM - May 27, 2019 05:00:00 PM

South Dakota State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:04
South Dakota State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/south-dakota.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date April 26, 2019 08:00:00 AM - April 28, 2019 05:00:00 PM

Wisconsin State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:04
Wisconsin State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/wisconsin.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date April 11, 2019 08:00:00 AM - April 13, 2019 05:00:00 PM

Utah State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:03
Utah State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/utah.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date April 11, 2019 08:00:00 AM - April 13, 2019 05:00:00 PM

New Hampshire State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:03
New Hampshire State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/new-hampshire.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date April 05, 2019 08:00:00 AM - April 07, 2019 05:00:00 PM

Louisiana State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:02
Louisiana State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/louisiana.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date April 05, 2019 08:00:00 AM - April 07, 2019 05:00:00 PM

Oklahoma State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:02
Oklahoma State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/oklahoma.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date March 28, 2019 08:00:00 AM - March 30, 2019 05:00:00 PM

Idaho State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:02
Idaho State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/idaho.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date March 21, 2019 08:00:00 AM - March 23, 2019 05:00:00 PM

Missouri State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:02
Missouri State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/missouri.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date March 21, 2019 08:00:00 AM - March 24, 2019 05:00:00 PM

Tennessee State Convention

From NFB.org - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 09:01
Tennessee State Convention

Learn more at https://nfb.org/about-us/state-affiliates/tennessee.

avetro Jan 26, 2019 Event Date March 15, 2019 08:00:00 AM - March 17, 2019 05:00:00 PM

The Best of Both Worlds: The QBraille XL Almost Perfectly Blends a Braille Display and a USB Keyboard

From NFB.org - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 16:12
Blog Date: Friday, January 4, 2019Author: Karl BelangerCategories: Access Technology

Have you ever found yourself struggling to remember the series of commands needed to perform a keyboard shortcut on your display? Have you ever needed to do a command that isn’t configured on your display? Have you found yourself switching back and forth between your computer keyboard and your display to accomplish your work? If so, then the QBraille XL from HIMS may just be the perfect device for you.

The QBraille XL is a forty-cell display that takes a standard Perkins-style Braille keyboard and adds all the function and navigation keys of a standard keyboard. The result is that you can type in Braille while being able to perform all the shortcuts and commands you’re used to with the standard keyboard keys. For example, control+f is done by holding the control key and pressing the dots for the letter f, and commands like control+tab or alt+f4 are done using the same keys you are used to. This is made possible by some software that makes the display appear to a connected device as both a Braille display and a regular USB or Bluetooth keyboard. Even if you haven’t configured the display with your screen reader, the navigation keys and computer Braille input will work perfectly, though you will not have Braille output. The QBraille also has a small suite of internal applications. I won’t be focusing too much time on these as they are very similar to those found on the Braille Edge. The only new internal application that the QBraille has is a DAISY reader for reading textbooks from services like Bookshare. The QBraille does not have speech built in so the DAISY reader is Braille only.

The Hardware

The edges of the QBraille are fairly clean, with the only thing on the left side being the power button, and the front and back edges completely empty aside from a small hard reset button near the right of the back edge. The right side has a USB C port for charging and connections over USB, and behind that an SD-card slot. A card must be installed for the notepad and DAISY reader to function. On the top front of the unit is a forty-cell display, with the standard panning and cursor routing keys that are common to all HIMS displays. Above the display is the keyboard. The main portion of the keyboard is a standard Perkins keyboard that any display user will be familiar with. On the same row as the spacebar are several keys. From left to right there is control, function, Windows, and alt. To the right of the spacebar are another alt, applications, and the right control key. On the far right are the arrow keys just as on a standard keyboard. Above the arrows is the standard six-pack of keys that you find on most keyboards. This is arranged in two columns of three keys with insert and delete on the top row, home and end below insert, and page up and down below the delete key. Above the Braille keys is a row containing escape on the far left, then the standard f1 through f12 keys. Below f1 are tab, caps lock, and shift. Below the escape key are the paring and mode buttons which have various functions when you’re connected to a device. The QBraille also comes with a protective case that looks fairly sturdy and fits the device very snugly.

The Software

The QBraille will take a little under thirty seconds to start up, and will display progress messages on the display. Once it starts, you will be at the main menu. The menu has several options: notepad, DAISY reader, applications, options, and information. The applications folder contains an alarm, clock, calculator, and calendar. As mentioned earlier, if you have used or read about the Braille Edge in the past, these will be quite familiar to you. You will first want to go into the options menu to set your preferred Braille language and grade, whether you want sounds to play, and other settings. Most of the QBraille’s magic happens in the connectivity mode. When you select connectivity from the main menu, you have a choice between USB, Bluetooth keyboard, or Bluetooth display. If you choose one of the Bluetooth options, you will be placed into pairing mode, then into terminal mode once a device is paired. If you select USB, you are directly placed in terminal mode. Once you have at least one connection, pressing the pairing button plus f1-f12 switches between Bluetooth connections, and pairing+escape switches to the USB connection. The QBraille supports up to six unique devices, with a display and keyboard connection for each, for a total of twelve Bluetooth connections plus a USB connection. All the major operating systems and screen readers are supported.

Using the QBraille with Other Devices Setting Things Up

If you’re using a USB connection, the keyboard mode is active immediately. In this mode you can use all the standard function keys and type in Braille, but there will be no Braille output. In order to make things fully functional you will need to download the HIMS USB driver if you’re on Windows, and configure your screen reader to use the display. Once this is done you will automatically be put in hybrid mode. In this mode the display will output Braille normally and the keyboard will operate in the keyboard mode. To have the keyboard work through the normal Braille display drivers, press the mode button to turn hybrid mode off. To set up a Bluetooth device, you will first need to select Bluetooth display and pair it as you would any display, then select Bluetooth keyboard and pair that as well. Once this is done you will be in hybrid mode. Once you have at least one connection, you will need to use the pairing and function keys to switch to an empty slot to pair either a new display connection or a new keyboard connection. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way to view a list of established connections, nor a way to clear one specific connection. During testing, one of the keyboard connections automatically connected to someone else’s Mac, and the only way I found to clear it was to reset all pairing information through the options mode.

Using the QBraille XL

Once you’re connected, you have two options for how to work with the display. If hybrid mode is off, the QBraille functions like any other display, using the command set in your screen reader of choice. However, if hybrid mode is on, all the function keys behave as they would on a regular keyboard, and Braille input works a little differently. Pressing the pairing and mode buttons together toggles between the various available input modes. For me, the choices are computer Braille, U.S. uncontracted, U.S. contracted, UEB uncontracted, and UEB contracted. For computer Braille, the keys are directly sent through to the device. For the others, the text is sent when the spacebar is pressed. This seems to work well and I haven’t experienced any issues with lag or missed characters when typing quickly into a document. This does have one drawback, specifically when using single letter navigation when browsing a web page. When entering a letter, such as h for heading, the QBraille will enter the word "have" if you’re in contracted mode, unless you use the letter sign. Even so, or if you’re in uncontracted mode, the space is still entered which can cause unwanted actions. The best thing I’ve found to do if you want to browse a web page in hybrid mode is to change the input mode to computer Braille. Then the letters behave exactly as desired. I also noticed an issue with hybrid mode on an iPhone, where using the Voiceover quicknav commands that require multiple arrow keys don’t work. The arrow keys simply get sent one right after the other. Another thing to be aware of is that performing some shortcuts requires a bit of hand gymnastics because of how the keys are placed. For example, doing insert+n to open the NVDA menu requires you to reach for the insert key with your pinky while pressing the Braille keys with the rest of your hand, which could be a problem for someone with small hands. I might try the Windows sticky keys feature in this circumstance. HIMS might also consider adding an on-device solution for this.

Final Thoughts

The QBraille XL is a solid device that makes using a computer much more pleasant to use. On mobile devices it also allows for the benefits of both a Braille display and a Bluetooth keyboard. The internal applications, while basic, provide a nice way to take some notes, read a book, or use the basic scheduler. The experience is not perfect as mentioned earlier, but the few caveats do little to mar what is overall an excellent device. Since it’s a forty-cell display with an expanded keyboard, some may consider it a bit too large for everyday carry outside of a laptop bag or briefcase, but given that its major draw appears to be for working with a computer I don’t see the size as a major concern. If you’re an office worker, or do any significant work on your computer, the QBraille XL is worth a serious look.

Chemistry for Christmas

From NFB.org - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 14:54
Blog Date: Friday, December 21, 2018Author: Mark A. RiccobonoCategories: AdvocacyEducation

On December 12, I wrote a letter to fifty of the country’s top chemistry programs with American Chemical Society membership to alert the universities to accessibility barriers perpetuated by the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute (ACS Exams). ACS Exams produces and distributes approximately sixty different chemistry exams and related study material for use nationwide in K-12 and higher education, but does not make all of its products available in Braille.

This lack of Braille has created artificial obstacles between blind chemistry students and the advancement of their chemistry studies. Students like Ashley Neybert have been pressured to withdraw from or postpone their chemistry studies after being unable to earn passing grades on inaccessible ACS chemistry tests. Ashley withdrew from her master’s in chemistry program after ACS Exams refused to produce a Braille copy of its organic chemistry placement exam, which her school deemed a necessary part of its master’s program. The school attempted to Braille the exam for Ashley, but the resulting test was of poor quality and unusable. Ashley failed her exam, and was ultimately told that she needed to study harder. But how can Ashley study harder to pass an inaccessible exam?

Access to STEM education remains a priority area for the National Federation of the Blind. We cannot and will not let students like Ashley be driven out of their chemistry studies because ACS Exams has failed to implement a plan to produce Braille versions of its full suite of chemistry tests and claims that to do so would be impractical. Fortunately, my letter got the attention of ACS Exams’s director. After repeatedly requesting meetings with ACS Exams, it seems the organization’s leadership is now willing to meet with the NFB to discuss the need for accessible materials for blind chemistry students. I am hopeful that this meeting will occur in early 2019.

In the interim, this holiday season we invite you to think about things that can’t fit under a Christmas tree. This year, the NFB is asking for chemistry for Christmas, and we hope you will too.

Please take time to read my December 12 letter in full and to share it with chemistry teachers you know. Chemistry programs can choose not to use ACS Exams’s chemistry tests and can choose not to renew their school’s membership in the American Chemical Society. Until ACS Exams’s products are fully and equally accessible to all students, they should not be used for any students.

Editor's Note: 

Mark A. Riccobono is the President of the National Federation of the Blind.

Three Workers with Disabilities Previously Paid Subminimum Wages Sue Roppe Industries for Employment Discrimination

From NFB.org - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 15:57

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind410-659-9314, ext. 2330410-262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgStacy Brannan-SmithCommunications SpecialistDisability Rights Ohio800-282-9181, ext. 101sbrannan-smith@disabilityrightsohio.orgThree Workers with Disabilities Previously Paid Subminimum Wages Sue Roppe Industries for Employment DiscriminationThe National Federation of the Blind Supports Litigation Brought by Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, and Disability Rights Ohio

Columbus, Ohio (December 18, 2018): Three long-time employees of Seneca Re-Ad, a workshop in Fostoria that acts as the Sampling Division for the manufacturer Roppe Corporation, are hoping to gain an equal chance to do their jobs and access the same advancement, pay and benefit opportunities as other Roppe workers. A lawsuit filed today in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) and the Baltimore law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, with support from the National Federation of the Blind, alleges discrimination by Roppe and Seneca Re-Ad with assistance from the Seneca County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

The complaint outlines a number of ways in which Roppe Corporation, an internationally-known flooring manufacturer that reported sales of $72.7 million in 2017, publicly considers Seneca Re-Ad a critical part of its organization but fails to meet its equal employment responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For instance, Roppe clients are often given tours of the organization’s manufacturing facilities, with a stop at what it calls its Sampling Division – the Seneca Re-Ad facility where people with disabilities turn out more than 25 million merchandise samples each year. But these highly productive employees, including plaintiffs Pamela Steward, Mark Felton and Ralph (Joe) Magers, are not paid the prevailing wage offered to other Roppe employees, are denied robust cross-training and the chance to advance through the company and receive the same benefits, including health insurance, vacation time or retirement plans.

The lawsuit further alleges that Ms. Steward, Mr. Felton and Mr. Magers have been denied reasonable accommodations required by the ADA to do their jobs. Ms. Steward has asthma but is not regularly provided with a thirty-cent protective mask to prevent her from inhaling rubber dust, even though she has made weekly requests for one. Mr. Magers is blind and needs the floor tiles for the samples he assembles to be organized by color, but this is not done. Furthermore, he has been provided with only printed training materials, although he has repeatedly requested verbal and tactile training. Mr. Felton has Autism and needs regular breaks to avoid becoming overstimulated and to reorient himself, but he is denied these breaks or is disciplined for taking them.

“Roppe Corporation now has an opportunity to lead the way in the manufacturing sector by providing truly integrated employment for the people with disabilities they say they value,” says Disability Rights Ohio Director of Advocacy Kerstin Sjoberg. “We hope Roppe will work with us to create something brand new that would be groundbreaking not only in the Seneca County community, but also in the state of Ohio.”

“The work arrangement in which these three individuals and their coworkers are trapped is a textbook example of virtually everything that is wrong with the segregated model of employment for people with disabilities, which is based on low expectations and erroneous stereotypes,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Roppe Corporation is missing an opportunity to be a model employer of people with disabilities. Instead, the company appears to be willing to exploit them for cheap labor, while both it and Seneca County officials shamelessly tout that exploitation as a public good.”

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About Disability Rights Ohio
Disability Rights Ohio is the federally and state designated Protection and Advocacy System and Client Assistance Program for the state of Ohio. The mission of Disability Rights Ohio is to advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of people with disabilities in Ohio. Disability Rights Ohio provides legal advocacy and rights protection to a wide range of people with disabilities. disabilityrightsohio.org

About Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP
Brown, Goldstein & Levy is a 22-lawyer law firm based in Baltimore, Maryland, that handles cases of every stripe, both civil and criminal, including an active disability rights practice. browngold.com

About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages, and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at nfb.org.

Three Workers with Disabilities Previously Paid Subminimum Wages Sue Roppe Industries for Employment Discrimination

Latest News - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 15:57
Release Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2018Category: National

Columbus, Ohio (December 18, 2018): Three long-time employees of Seneca Re-Ad, a workshop in Fostoria that acts as the Sampling Division for the manufacturer Roppe Corporation, are hoping to gain an equal chance to do their jobs and access the same advancement, pay and benefit opportunities as other Roppe workers.

National Federation of the Blind Comments on UN Designation of World Braille Day

From NFB.org - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 11:15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Monday, December 17, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgNational Federation of the Blind Comments on UN Designation of World Braille Day

Baltimore, Maryland (December 17, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind issued the following statement on today’s passage by the United Nations of a resolution designating January 4 of each year as World Braille Day:

“From the time of its invention nearly two hundred years ago, Braille has represented independence, literacy, and opportunity for blind people,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Though its adoption was slow at first, it is now used around the world in most written languages. I personally benefit from using Braille every day and am grateful that I had the opportunity to learn it. The National Federation of the Blind knows that Braille is the key to success for blind people across the globe, and we commend the United Nations for recognizing this fact by designating January 4 – Louis Braille’s birthday – as World Braille Day.”

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About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages, and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at nfb.org.

National Federation of the Blind Comments on UN Designation of World Braille Day

Latest News - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 11:15
Release Date: Monday, December 17, 2018Category: National

Baltimore, Maryland (December 17, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind issued the following statement on today’s passage by the United Nations of a resolution designating January 4 of each year as World Braille Day:

What Being a Scholarship Finalist Taught Me

From NFB.org - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 12:41
Blog Date: Thursday, December 13, 2018Author: Elizabeth RouseCategories: ConventionEducation

I applied for the National Federation of the Blind scholarship program in 2018 just to say I did and get some of my friends off my back. I never thought I would be selected as a scholarship finalist, but I can say, without hesitation, that the experience changed my life.

This blog is not going to be cheesy or cliché, if I can help it, but I am going to be completely honest.

As soon as I got the call alerting me to the fact that I was a finalist, I purchased my plane ticket for the national convention in Orlando, Florida and then called my mom. She was thrilled, but my level of excitement far surpassed hers. For the rest of the school year, I counted down the days until I would take off for Florida.

On the day I arrived in Florida, I'm not going to lie, I was nervous. I'd heard rumors about how big the hotel was and how busy my coming week would be. However, I quickly made friends with some blind people I met in the airport. We traveled in a cluster to the hotel, and after a hasty shower, I met with my first scholarship mentor.

My first meeting was welcomed because I needed food, and the hotel was brimming with restaurants. The interview was casual, but there were some intense questions. I found myself taking into consideration not only my opinions but also the fact that I was in a scholarship competition. This fact put a little pressure on my conversational skills. Luckily, at the required meeting later that evening, our scholarship committee chair reminded us to just be ourselves. I tried my best to follow her direction the rest of the week.

After a night full of informative meetings, I threw myself into networking. The National Association of Blind Students organized events to encourage communication among scholarship finalists and general attendees. While I didn't stay long for fear of collapsing with exhaustion, I had a great time putting names, faces, and voices together after working with the majority of the NABS board for some time.

Each day of the week was filled to the brim with meetings, mentor appointments, and delicious meals. I met so many people that I couldn't name them all if I tried. The friendships I made, and renewed, at the national convention will last for the rest of my life.

In addition to the networking, I learned a great deal about myself. Being surrounded by thousands of blind people renewed my faith in my own abilities. I met successful individuals and people who worked in my desired field, which is law. I witnessed firsthand the life that awaits me in a few years. I learned that hard work and determination are among the necessary skills to become a successful attorney. Eyesight is not part of the necessary skill set. Anything I hope to do is a possibility if I'm not afraid of a challenge.

One of the largest changes I can note in myself is my recently adopted willingness to use my cane. Before the national convention, I used sighted guides or my limited vision to get around. Many people who saw me couldn't even tell if I was blind. They mostly just thought I was clingy. Thankfully, seeing others use their canes without shame encouraged me to embrace my own independence. Ever since I returned from Florida, I have used my cane more than ever. I take pride in who I am and the community I belong to. Being blind does not make a person less. In fact, I think being blind makes a person so much more. Blind people accept the challenge of changing perceptions every day. I am thrilled to call myself a proud member of the National Federation of the Blind.

National Federation of the Blind and Disability Rights North Carolina Sue UNC Health Care and Nash UNC Health Care

From NFB.org - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 16:29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: Monday, December 3, 2018Category: NationalChris DanielsenDirector of Public RelationsNational Federation of the Blind(410) 659-9314, extension 2330(410) 262-1281 (Cell)cdanielsen@nfb.orgVirginia Knowlton MarcusDisability Rights North CarolinaExecutive Director(919) 856-2195virginiaknowltonmarcus@disabilityrightsnc.orgNational Federation of the Blind and Disability Rights North Carolina Sue UNC Health Care and Nash UNC Health CareLawsuit Alleges Discrimination Against Blind Patients

Raleigh, North Carolina (December 3, 2018): The UNC Health Care System, Nash UNC Health Care, and contractors systematically discriminate against blind patients in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a lawsuit filed today. The lawsuit, brought by the National Federation of the Blind and Disability Rights North Carolina along with individual blind plaintiffs, alleges that blind patients do not receive critical communications in alternate formats - such as Braille, large print, or electronic documents - only standard print. This causes financial and personal hardships for blind patients and does not allow them to keep their medical information private.

For instance, according to the lawsuit, Plaintiff John Bone is a blind patient who visited Nash General Hospital for emergency medical care services on two separate occasions. Each visit, he informed the hospital that he was blind and needed to receive all his medical bills in Braille. Mr. Bone instead received all the bills in print, and he did not know how much money he owed or even to whom he owed money until collection agencies pursued and threatened him. Mr. Bone seeks to receive medical bills in Braille, so he can pay his bills without accruing late fees, enduring harassment from creditors, and having his credit score needlessly damaged.

Another plaintiff named in the lawsuit visits a UNC Health Care provider at least once every six months and needs documents formatted in large print in order to read them. During his medical visits, he is forced to sign forms he cannot read and receives visit summaries, follow-up medical instructions, and bills all in standard print. This patient often must share personal medical information with third parties to understand and follow medical instructions. He seeks to keep his medical information private, which he can do if he receives documents in large print.

“Blind people need and deserve the same privacy and independence in managing our healthcare that sighted patients take for granted,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “In some cases, the ability to receive information in formats we can use can make a life-or-death difference. With today’s technology, providing bills, medical records, and treatment instructions in alternative formats is readily achievable, and all providers have a moral and legal obligation to do so.”

“We are representing blind individuals in North Carolina because the failure to effectively communicate with them violates their legal rights, increases their chances of incurring fines and damaging their credit scores, disregards their need for independence and privacy, and puts their very health at risk,” said Virginia Knowlton Marcus, Executive Director of Disability Rights NC, and “health care industries have the responsibility to know and do better.”

The plaintiffs are represented by the attorneys of Disability Rights NC and the Baltimore law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP.

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About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages, and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at nfb.org.

About Disability Rights North Carolina
Disability Rights North Carolina is part of the federally mandated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities and it is responsible for redressing incidents of disability discrimination throughout the state of North Carolina. Learn more about Disability Rights North Carolina at disabilityrightsnc.org.

National Federation of the Blind and Disability Rights North Carolina Sue UNC Health Care and Nash UNC Health Care

Latest News - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 16:29
Release Date: Monday, December 3, 2018Category: National

Raleigh, North Carolina (December 3, 2018): The UNC Health Care System, Nash UNC Health Care, and contractors systematically discriminate against blind patients in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a lawsuit filed today.

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