Resolution 2023-03 Regarding Equal Access to Medical Information and Services

WHEREAS, medical facilities and doctors are increasingly, and sometimes exclusively, using electronic methods of communicating with their members and patients; and 

WHEREAS, providers of such services may communicate directly with their patients rarely, if at all, outside of office visits; and

WHEREAS, patients who are blind or have other disabilities may not have the means of reviewing their electronic health records (EHR) and other information provided to them,, including critical information about treatments, procedures, and post-visit instructions; and

 WHEREAS, facilities performing medical services should be available to people regardless of their disability or technical capabilities; and

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that medical providers maintain effective communication with their patients, and Maryland law requires that patients be able to receive information in a manner that is understandable to the patient; and

WHEREAS, people seeking medical tests or visits are often ill and have less energy and patience than normal, making easy appointment scheduling even more critical; and

WHEREAS, many medical portals for scheduling appointments or receiving medical information are inaccessible to blind people: now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland assembled this eleventh day of November, 2023, that we call upon the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland Department of Disabilities, and other relevant state agencies to take steps to enforce the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable state and federal laws, to provide guidance to medical facilities on their obligations under these laws, and to propose or promulgate additional regulations as needed to protect the right of blind patients to effective communication, privacy, accessibility, and health equity.