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Senators Hassan and Braun Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Accessibility of Medical Devices

WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced a bipartisan bill to improve access to home medical devices for blind and visually impaired users. The bill would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop rules requiring that new medical devices with digital displays, such as glucose monitors or insulin pumps, include accessible features for visually impaired users, unless it would change the fundamental nature of the device.

“Almost all smartphones and computers include accessibility features that make it easier for visually impaired people to use them, but home medical devices – which people often need to live – rarely include this basic functionality,” said Senator Hassan. “My bipartisan legislation with Senator Braun will help ensure that blind and visually impaired people are more fully included in our society, including when getting their health care.”

“Ensuring accessibility of certain medical devices for people who are visually impaired is a no-brainer and has the potential to greatly improve the user’s quality of life,” said Senator Braun. “Passing this bill is the least the Senate can do to help our fellow Americans who need assistance the most.” 

“Accessibility is not a matter of mere convenience, but a moral imperative that, with respect to healthcare, can make the difference between good and poor health outcomes and even between life and death. Blind Americans must have nonvisual access to medical technology that is crucial to our well-being. The Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act will ensure that future medical devices are designed with nonvisual accessibility features, granting us full independence and control over our own healthcare. We commend Senator Hassan and Senator Braun for their bipartisan work on this critical legislation and urge their colleagues to join them in supporting it,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind.

“The blind of the Granite State are pleased and proud that Senator Hassan is championing this crucial legislation. This bill will protect the independence of, and improve health outcomes for, blind people and others in New Hampshire and throughout our nation. We applaud the introduction of the bill and will work tirelessly with our senator and her colleagues to see it through to passage,” said Deanna O’Brien, President of the National Federation of the Blind of New Hampshire.  

This bill is a part of Senator Hassan’s efforts to ensure that individuals who experience disabilities receive the support that they need to be fully included in their communities. Additionally, Senator Hassan successfully secured nearly $3 billion in dedicated federal funding to support students with disabilities in the American Rescue Plan, which is now law.