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The ADA and Your Practice Website

by Ali Oromchian, JD, LL.M

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled Americans from being subjected to discrimination due to their physical limitations. For example, the ADA mandates that public business locations (including medical and dental offices) must be handicapped accessible. These requirements ensure that all patients have access to the same services, regardless of disabilities. But while most business owners are aware that they must take steps to make their services available to those with disabilities, many do not realize that the ADA also covers accessibility via the web.

The accessibility requirements pertaining to websites come from Title III of the ADA, which states that any business which is a “place of public accommodation” (a definition which may include dental practices)must provide equal access to services. The Department of Justice has determined that Title III requires that websites must be designed to be accessible to those with hearing, vision, or other physical disabilities.

One factor which is complicating this arena of Title III laws is the absence of clear website regulations from the DOJ. Under President Obama, the DOJ had stated that proposed regulations for websites subject to Title III would be issued in 2018. However, President Trump has issued an Executive Order entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” which essentially requires that two prior regulations be repealed for every new regulation to be implemented. This new executive order makes it unlikely that regulations applying to public accommodation websites will be issued under...

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