This policy is a series of additions and revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the medical standards of care, and the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. The goal of this policy is to ensure that all Americans with disabilities are guaranteed the same rights, care, dignity, and quality of life that non-disabled Americans are.
Public and Private Access
Under this policy, all buildings both public and residential will be held to stricter standards regarding accessibility and accommodations for disabled individuals. All buildings that aren’t true historical buildings will be held to the most recent publication of the ADA standards, and these standards will be revised and added to, to better represent how accessibility needs have changed since the 2010 revision of the ADA. Public transportation, outdoor spaces, and sidewalks will also be held to higher standards under the new revisions of the ADA, and all of these standards will be more consistently enforced by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation.
Changes to the ADA regarding buildings
35.151 is the law under the ADA that specifies which buildings must meet accessibility standards and which are exempt. Under the 2010 publication, any building built before the revisions took effect in 2012, only has to comply with the 1992 publication of the ADA, without the exception that allows places to not provide elevators. Buildings built before the 1992 ADA standards of accessible design and building must only comply with the UFAS. Religious buildings, religious owned organizations, and private clubs are exempt from meeting the ADA standards but may be subject to local accessibility standards.
35.151 is going to be revised so that all buildings that must meet ADA standards are required to meet the most recent version of those standards. This is also going to remove the regulations about taking cost into consideration when thinking about renovations or making a building accessible. There will be no more “disproportionate cost” that prevents buildings from completely meeting the ADA standards.
Some of the standards that have changed between the 1992 version and the 2010 version are regulations on ramps, door widths, accessible signs, accessible bathrooms, and more. These include dimensions as well as safety features.
Another exemption that will be removed is the religious exemption that states that religious institutions or organizations are not required to follow the ADA standards of Accessible Design. This exemption is a violation of the first amendment because it impedes on disabled people’s rights and ability to practice religion.
Public Transportation Access
All public transportation must meet ADA standards. This includes but is not limited to buses, trains, planes, and private transportation companies that serve the public such as Uber and lyft.
Disabled people must be able to safely and easily navigate the route to the entrance of the public transportation, and they must be able to safely and easily ride on the public transportation. Many of these laws are already included in the ADA but are not enforced or are selectively enforced. Under this policy these standards will be strictly enforced, universally across the country.
Bus stops should be both wheelchair accessible and have signs written in large, contrasting fonts, with braille and spoken options. There should be an auditory alert that the bus has arrived at the bus stop for blind and visually impaired individuals. Buses should all have a wheelchair lift on the back or side of the bus as well as the wheelchair straps that come out of the floor to hold a wheelchair in place so that the disabled person doesn’t slide around in the moving vehicle. There should be at least two spots for wheelchairs, and more when possible. There should also be accessible seating on the bus with plenty of space for mobility aids or service dogs
Trains and subways need to have a lot of the same accessibility features as buses and bus stops. They need to be completely wheelchair and mobility aid accessible, including but not limited to wheelchair straps in the floor, a ramp or elevator down to the station, handrails on any stairs, and ramps that fold out to cover the gap between the platform and the train (so that wheelchair users don't get their wheels stuck in this gap, so that blind and visually impaired people don’t fall into this gap, and so that other mobility aid users don’t trip or fall into the gap).
Lyfts, Ubers, Taxis
Lyfts, Ubers, Taxis, and any other transportation like this falls under ADA protections because it’s a public business. This means that they must have an accessible option and accessible vehicles for disabled people that need it. While this is something that these services sometimes offer, it is not offered widespread in the same way that these services are and many disabled people in many places are not able to use these services because they don’t offer an accessible option in their area. This policy will require all of these services to have an accessible option in every single location that they are offered, or provide an equal alternative to disabled individuals.
Some examples of accessibility that are necessary for these rideshare apps are vehicles with a wheelchair lift, vehicles with a wheelchair ramp, and drivers that can and are willing to assist disabled people.
Planes and air travel
There are already a lot of regulations in place to make sure that airlines are accessible to the public but a lot of these fall short. Some of these issues include security, boarding the plane, taking care of mobility aids, and lack of access during the flight.
If a disabled person has any kind of medical equipment, there are far more rigorous checks going through security than people that don’t have any kind of medical equipment, and sometimes airlines even try to require people to remove things that are attached to their bodies or can’t be removed for any reason like hearing aids, insulin pumps, prosthetic limbs. Security also sometimes makes people use the wrong mobility equipment to go through security so that they can inspect their mobility equipment which can leave people in a lot of pain.
Some examples of this are making people transfer to a hospital wheelchair from their custom one, making people on crutches
Makes some people use mobility aids that dont help (ambulatory wheelchair users being made to walk with a cane just because they aren’t paralyzed)
Airlines break wheelchairs and lose mobility aids
Depending on the specific airline, up to 7% of wheelchairs are broken or lost during the flight. This leaves disabled people without the ability to have their independence or live. Most wheelchairs are custom made to a person’s exact measurements, needs, and body so the temporary wheelchairs that airlines send out to replace ones that are broken or lost are not adequate and can cause severe issues for the disabled person using them. A wheelchair that isn’t properly fitted can cause sores, bruising, and repeated stress injuries.
Airlines have virtually no training in how to properly load and unload wheelchairs, and this results in many being broken, but especially electric wheelchairs because they weigh more and are more delicate than most manual ones.
Don't understand that some aids cannot be exposed to radiation
There is some medical equipment that cannot be exposed to the x-ray machines, and sometimes other reasons that a disabled person may not be able to go through these, like pacemakers and some hearing aids.
Doesn’t understand that some aids are physically attached to the body and not removable
Disabled people literally getting left on locked planes bc staff forgot to help them get off
Disabled people often need assistance getting on and off airplanes because the aisles on the plane aren’t big enough for most traditional wheelchairs and there isn’t enough storage in the cabin for wheelchairs during the flight. Usually airlines have their own aisle chairs that they use to help transport disabled people onto planes, but there have been several times now that airline staff have forgotten that there were disabled people who needed to be let off of the plane after the rest of the passengers, and locked them in the dark plane alone.
Airlines need to have more training and protocol in place to prevent these kinds of things from happening ever again, such as a final check on planes to make sure that there are no passengers left onboard or other regulations.
Disabled people not being able to go to the bathroom during a flight no matter how long
Because disabled people in wheelchairs don’t have access to those wheelchairs on the flight, they aren’t given any choices about whether or not they can go to the bathroom during a flight, regardless of how long the flight is and regardless of the fact that many disabled people have bladder or bowel issues.
Denying service dogs based on breed or size
Not giving seats with enough space for service dogs
Making mobility aids go in some kind of storage like canes, crutches, walkers that could fit in the seat with the disabled person
Lack of access for blind individuals, incredibly hard to navigate airports without adequate signs and incredibly hard to get a guide to walk you to your destination through the airport
Loss of medical supplies
Trouble bringing medications and medical supplies through security
Lack of accommodations for food, drinks, and medications on board the flight
Doctor Intersectionality Training
Doctors are in charge of treating any health conditions that someone may have and making sure that people can live the best quality of life possible, but many doctors aren’t trained in intersectionality or how to treat patients of different minorities.
Caregivers and Aids
Caregivers have a variety of jobs to help disabled people in their everyday lives, there are different kinds of care that a person might need, and there are many different reasons that a disabled person might need a caregiver. Caregivers, as a whole right now, are underpaid and overworked. Under this policy, caregivers, including familial caregivers, will be compensated for all of their labor, and the disabled person will be provided with respite care givers to take over while their normal caregivers take time off, have vacations, and take sick days. IT is our belief that all people should be fairly compensated for all of their labor, as well as having access to paid sick leave, vacation time, and time off if they want it. ANY amount of hours that a person needs from a caregiver will be covered, including people who need 24/7 assistance. In the case of familial or friends being caregivers for their loved ones, they will also receive a free training course on the basics of caregiving if they want it, so that they aren’t trying to navigate medical tasks without any knowledge or training.
In addition to traditional caregivers, there are other things that disabled people need assistance with that aren’t typically covered. Some of these things include yard work, house cleaning, child care (such as times when there is a flare up, hospitalizations, or otherwise worse symptoms that are usually well managed), assistance shopping, assistance filling out forms, and people who manage finances.
Any type of assistance that a disabled person needs will be covered under this policy, as well as any kind of assistance tool, such as grabbers, button hooks, non-spill silverware or glasses, bidets, and anything else that would improve disabled people’s independence and quality of life that they may not have access to otherwise.
CNAs, (certified nursing assistants), can provide many of the care tasks that a disabled person needs, but not all of them. The job of CNAs is to provide basic nursing care to people. This includes things like helping someone get into wheelchairs, hygiene, eating and drinking, changing bandages, providing medications, and port access, CNAs also do some other tasks, but the main job is to assist with hygiene and basic medical tasks that someone needs.
Legal Guardians and People Under Guardianship
This policy is going to increase the protections of disabled people under guardianship, in order to guarantee them their rights to independence and protect them from abuse by their guardians.
Every person under guardianship will have someone
who frequently checks in to ensure that the disabled person is making progress towards independence, or at least learning valuable skills. Guardianship will be reevaluated on a yearly basis to ensure that the person under guardianship still has a need for it. These reevaluations include proving to a court, again, that the person under guardianship still has a need for it and showing any evidence of how they have or haven’t progressed since the last decision.
Along with frequent checks to ensure that the disabled person needs to remain under guardianship, there will be different types and levels of guardianship for disabled people, on a case to case basis.
Disabled people need access to both medical patient advocates and non-medical case management
Under the current ADA standards, the only animals that can be legal service animals and have public access are dogs and in very rare cases, miniature horses. There are many animals though, that can be both trained to the public access standards and fill a certain need or task that disabled people need that other animals can’t. An example of this is rats. Rats are very intelligent and far easier to train than dogs and some people have started training them to be able to smell to detect blood sugar changes the same way that diabetic service dogs are able to. Rats, in addition to being easier to train, are also easier to care for and smaller, so they’re easier to have discreetly in public, or easier to keep close to your breath or chest if that’s where they need to be able to perform their tasks.
The laws about service animals with public access haven't ever been changed or updated, and this policy will update these laws to include select different species of animals that can fill certain needs or be more accessible to disabled people that aren’t currently guaranteed legal public access.
In addition to changing the types of animals that can legally be service animals, under this policy service dog training programs will have far stricter regulations on what they can require of disabled individuals to keep their service dogs, a federal uniform standard of training, and all service dogs and equipment for them will be provided free of charge to the disabled person.
Currently, there are no federal regulations on training programs for service dogs, and many of these programs have their own highly specific regulations on the handlers that get dogs through them. Some of these regulations include not changing the dog's diet, the dog not gaining or losing weight over a certain amount, not using company provided vests, collars, or leashes, not changing the dogs name, not training new tasks or retiring old tasks for the dog. These companies are allowed to “repossess” or take back custody of dogs if the handlers don’t follow whatever rules that they’ve set, which is taking medical equipment away from disabled people. Under this policy there will be federal regulations on what these companies can require from handlers and they will no longer be allowed to take dogs back for any reason other than neglect or abuse.
Access and Ease to Reporting Discrimination
Everyone should have access to and know their rights, as well as the ability to report when those rights have been violated or when they’ve been discriminated against.
Part of this policy is to ensure that disabled people are readily able to report violations of the ADA that they encounter in public and any discrimination or harassment that they may face by public employees, businesses, doctors, or from their employers or coworkers.
Inpatient Mental Health Facilities
Inpatient mental health facilities are currently lacking in regulations and screening of doctors. The way that they are currently run is often more traumatic than helpful for people that get admitted there and they’re more about controlling and punishing patients for struggling than they are about recovery. This policy seeks to have far stricter regulations on both the doctors working at these facilities, and the types of treatment and punishments that these facilities are allowed to implement in their practices.
Under this policy, all forms of drugging from these doctors will be banned. This is usually called sedation and is done in the form of an injection of high doses of benzodiazepines or antipsychotics, against people’s will. These are done to control patients and make them less combative when they’re doing things or displaying symptoms of their mental illness that the staff doesn’t want to deal with. Dosing patients with medications against their will or knowledge is already forbidden under several laws about patient care and this should be enforced for patients struggling with mental illness as well.
Forced restraints are another abusive practice in the mental health field that are going to be banned under this policy whenever possible. Most patients who are 5150 sanctioned are put into handcuffs for transport, and sometimes these handcuffs are locked so tight that they cause physical injuries on top of being traumatic. People are also tied to beds and locked in rooms for having difficult symptoms of their mental illnesses, which they’re actively seeking treatment for. Any restraint on any patient, under this policy, is only allowed if the patient is posing an active threat to other people, or if they’re actively trying to hurt themselves even in care and all other options have been exhausted like trying to talk to them, comfort them, and offering them sedatives or anti anxiety medications. It must be used as a last resort only, and any restraint, and every restraint must meet certain standards. Isolation is another tactic that these facilities use to punish people who are in an incredibly vulnerable state.
Children are among the most vulnerable people, and their rights need to be strictly protected, including from parents and caregivers, and heavily regulated.Children need to have the same privacy rights that adults have, especially in the mental health field. Under this policy, therapists and psychiatrists only have the right to tell the parents if the child is actively hurting themselves, plans to hurt themselves, or is actively hurting others or plans to hurt others. They will only be able to report things that are already covered under mandated reporting laws. Mandated reporting laws will also be updated so that any parental abuse will be reported to professionals that are not in the family.