“I use a wheelchair. Due to my disability, I used to go to physical therapy but stopped because of access issues. I would have to be lifted onto the massage table and got tired of it due to pain and embarrassment. I asked my therapist as well as the owner/manager to get a table that lowered. I was told they would not get one because they don’t normally deal with clients like me and usually send them elsewhere!”“Is this right to be denied my request? I have not gone back due to this issue of not having the right table.”
I really like this question because the answer is not found in the guidelines, but in the ADA law itself, as listed below:
The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 P.L. 110-325
Title 42 – The Public Health and Welfare
Chapter 126 – Equal Opportunity for individual with Disabilities
Subchapter III – Public Accommodations and services operated by Private Entities
Section 12182 – Prohibition of discrimination by public accommodations
(a) General Rule: No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.
As you can see, physical therapy is a service and is therefore covered by the ADA.
The “able-bodied” client makes a transfer onto the massage table, so in the opinion of Access Advocates, you need to be able to make that same transfer. This means the table needs to come down 17-19 inches above the finished floor.
Do you have a question for Hank, our ADA expert? Ask him here and he’ll send you a private, personal response.