Covered Entities Must Now Have Accessible Websites
The new regulations issued for Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act require covered entities to comply with “meaningful access” requirements. These regulations require that all covered entities (any health programs or activities that receive federal funding) provide persons with disabilities “meaningful access” to health information, including accessible electronic information. While the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not specify a website accessibility standard in the new rule, HHS stated that it would be difficult for a website not currently complying with WCAG 2.0 AA standards or the Section 508 standards to be in compliance with Section 1557. Covered entities should review these standards with their technology advisors and ensure that their websites are in compliance with the new regulations.