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Landmark agreement will make kiosks accessible to the blind and those with low vision in Massachusetts

August 5th, 2016  |  Deborah Hammonds

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) recently announced a first-of-its kind agreement with Pursuant Health, Inc. that will make health care kiosks accessible to Massachusetts individuals who are blind or have low vision.

Pursuant Health, Inc. is an Atlanta-based company that manufactures and operates thousands of self-service health care kiosks in retail stores nationwide. The company’s kiosks offer biometric health screenings including vision assessments, blood pressure screening, weight and BMI assessments, and pain management advice. According to the joint press statement, released on July 27, the agreement will provide meaningful benefits to individuals nationwide who are blind or who have low vision, including 27,000 Massachusetts residents who are legally blind.

According to the terms of the agreement, Pursuant Health will implement a detailed project plan to make their kiosks and website accessible to consumers who are blind or visually impaired. The kiosks will be made accessible over time and will be reformatted to provide audio instructions and easily locatable “hot spots” on the kiosk screens to help blind consumers navigate the system. Membership options to make it easier for blind consumers to activate the kiosks and track their individual health assessments will also be made available.

In addition, Pursuant Health will make payments totaling $95,000 to the AG’s Office and the NFB, to be used to further improve access and opportunity for individuals with disabilities.

“Living the lives we want as blind people includes monitoring our own health so that we can take steps to maintain or improve it,” said NFB President Mark A. Riccobono. “Health information has the potential to be more accessible than even to the blind with twenty-first century technology, but only if the manufacturers of technology keep accessibility in mind. We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Pursuant Health, working with the outstanding civil rights advocates in Attorney General Healey’s office, and believe that it will result in health information kiosks that set an industry-leading example.”

“Technology should be used to improve people’s lives, not create barriers. We must take steps to ensure that all Massachusetts residents have equal access to health care services, and that technology is accessible to consumers with disabilities. We are pleased to have worked with the NFB and Pursuant Health to make these kiosks accessible,” said AG Healey.

This agreement is the most recent result of collaboration between the AG’s Office and the NFB. The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Genevieve C. Nadeau, Chief of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division on behalf of the Commonwealth, and by Daniel F. Goldstein of the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP on behalf of the NFB.

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