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Navigating ADA Compliance Requirements for Medical Facilities

By CME Corp Staff | June 11, 2024

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1990, is a pivotal piece of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public private places open to the public. For medical facilities, compliance with ADA standards is not just a legal obligation but a moral imperative to ensure that all patients, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities, have access to and can receive medical care without barriers. Compliance with ADA standards applies not only to the facility building but also to medical equipment used for patient care.

This post will explore:

Key ADA Requirements for Medical Facilities

Common ADA Compliant Features to Look for In Medical Equipment

Essential ADA Compliant Medical Equipment

Key ADA Requirements for Medical Facilities

Facility design can significantly impact patient experience – positively or negatively. Understanding and incorporating ADA standards into the structure and traffic flow of a facility not only ensures legal compliance obligations are met but also promotes a culture of respect for all patients.

Here are some of the most basic ADA requirements for a healthcare building:

Accessible Entrances and Traffic Flow

  • Entrances: At least one entrance must be accessible by patients in wheelchairs or using mobility assistive devices. This means providing ramps, wider doors, and automatic door openers where needed.

  • Traffic Flow: All public and patient areas accommodate wheelchair patients and patients reliant on mobility assistive devices. This includes hallways, exam rooms, and patient rooms.


  • Medical facilities must have designated, clearly marked, wheelchair accessible parking spaces located close to the entrance.

  • These spaces must be wide enough to accommodate wheelchair users and should have an access aisle.

Waiting Areas

  • Waiting rooms must have seating options that accommodate a wide range of disabilities. This includes seats that are at an appropriate height for wheelchair users and individuals who have difficulty standing from a seating position.

  • Clear paths of travel should be maintained to ensure that individuals using mobility devices can navigate safely through the waiting area.


  • At least one restroom must be designed and equipped for patients with disabilities. Design features include wall mounted grab bars, accessible sinks, raised toilet seats, and enough space for wheelchair maneuverability.

Click CHAT to talk with a CME expert about how we can help you procure Division 11, contractor installed, sinks, toilets, grab bars, and showers.


  • Signs should be in large print and high-contrast colors to accommodate individuals with visual impairments. Braille signage is also required.

Exam and Treatment Rooms

  • Exam rooms must be accessible to patients with a wide variety of disabilities. This can include larger rooms to ensure sufficient space for wheelchair maneuvering and wider doors.

Ensuring a patient with a disability can comfortably get to an exam or treatment room is only half of the compliance obligation. Equipping those rooms with medical equipment designed to accommodate patients with disabilities safeguards the safety of both patients and staff, promotes an efficient work workflow, and offers patients a more dignified experience.


Common ADA Compliant Features to Look for in Medical Equipment

Medical equipment labeled ADA compliant must offer features that meet specific standards and guidelines. Here are several features that make medical equipment ADA compliant:

Height Adjustability helps patients who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility transfer themselves autonomously onto medical equipment such as exam tables. Adjustable height ranges should accommodate both seated and standing positions to address a wide range of disabilities.

Wide and Stable Platforms are necessary to safely accommodate wheelchairs, patients standing with assistive devices, or those patients requiring help from staff or caregivers.

Transfer Supports such as handrails or grab bars help patients steady themselves during transfers.

Safety Features such as lockable wheels, stable platforms, adjustable footrests, and armrests.

High-Contrast and Large Print for labels on medical equipment can accommodate patients with visual impairment as can braille labels and tactile feedback mechanisms.

While not exhaustive, these features are often associated with medical exam tables, scales, medical chairs, and transfer devices.


Essential ADA Compliant Medical Equipment

Ensuring that medical equipment is safely accessible by all patients is a necessity for providing equitable healthcare services. Some essential medical equipment that must meet ADA Standards includes:

Adjustable Exam Tables and Chairs

  • Adjustable-height exam tables allow patients with mobility impairments to transfer from their wheelchair to the table with minimal assistance.
  • Chairs should have armrests that can be raised for unobstructed transfers and be height adjustable.
  • Exam table and chair bases must have clearance that allows portable floor lifts to be brought along side.

Wheelchair-Accessible Scales

  • Scales should be large enough to accommodate a wheelchair and be able to detect the weight of the wheelchair to obtain an accurate measurement of the patient’s weight.

Diagnostic Equipment

  • Imaging equipment (like X-ray machines, MRIs, and CT scanners) should be height adjustable.

Medical Recliners/Infusion Chairs

Patients Lifts and Transfer Aids

  • Facilities should be equipped with mechanical or electronic patient lifts and other transfer aids to assist in the safe movement of patients from wheelchairs to examination tables or other medical equipment.

Accessible Communication Devices

  • This includes devices like amplified stethoscopes for patients with hearing impairments and communication boards for those with speech impairments.

Choosing ADA compliant medical equipment requires knowledge of standards as they relate to adjustability, accessibility, safety, and ease of use. Partnering with a medical equipment distributor focused only on medical equipment can help ensure capital equipment investments are ADA complaint and healthcare facilities are able to provide inclusive and equitable healthcare to all members of their community.


Partner with CME for ADA Compliant Medical Equipment

As a nationally recognized medical equipment distributor and the only one, nationwide, focused solely on medical equipment, CME has built relationships with industry leading medical equipment manufacturers.

Our expert account managers will work with you and the manufacturers’ representatives to ensure that you are purchasing ADA compliant equipment, at the best price for your budget.

Complementing CME’s focus on medical equipment are order management, direct-to-site delivery, and biomedical services. We are the only medical equipment distributor in the U.S. able to say we are truly a one-stop-shop.

Order Management Services

Working with administrators and procurement professionals, our single point of contact project management team can take the some of the stress out of purchasing ADA compliant medical equipment by working with manufacturers to ensure delivery dates are met and any issues associated with delivery are resolved in a timely manner.

Direct-To-Site Logistics and Delivery Services

In addition to delivering medical equipment fully assembled when it is convenient for staff and clients, CME Logistics and Direct-to-Site services can help manage large orders by receiving, inspecting and warehousing the order(s) for a single delivery. Our Direct-to-Site teams will deliver assembled ADA compliant medical equipment to service locations within the facility and remove all packing debris, so the equipment is ready for immediate use.

Biomedical Services

Biomedical services have been at the heart of CME for over forty-five years. We are the only medical equipment distributor nationwide with an in-house team of biomedical technicians available to perform asset tagging, asset validation, equipment check-in, preventative maintenance, and repair.

Click CHAT to begin a conversation about your ADA compliant medical equipment needs.


About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipmentturnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers. With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.

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