I was performing a project at a hospital on the number of missing wheelchairs. Must hospitals provide wheelchairs at the entrance per ADA regulation or some other regulation?

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Hospitals in the U.S. are required by the ADA to provide reasonable accommodations to the disabled and are also required by standards of medical practice to provide medical care in a manner recognized as adequate in the medical profession.

This does not automatically and necessarily mean that wheel chairs are required or that any specific number of them are required in any particular place.

In practice, most hospitals need to have wheel chairs on hand to meet these general obligations, because lots of people who come to most hospitals need the assistance of a wheel chair to adequately utilize the services of the hospital and to receive adequate medical care.

But, this isn't a rigid regulation.

One can imagine circumstances where a hospital with a niche group of patients of some kind didn't need them.

For example, ambulatory surgery centers, which aren't strictly hospitals, but could be easily confused for them or described as a hospital in loose layman's terminology, which provide outpatient surgical services, often provide wheel chairs on the way out, but not on the way in, as they deal with pre-planned, rather than emergency surgeries.

One could also imagine a psychiatric hospital where a wheel chair in an entry area wasn't necessary or useful.

  • Thank you, so to my understanding there is no strict requirement to provide the wheelchairs, but rather a standard of medical practice? – Abe Dickenson May 2 at 20:01
  • @AbeDickenson There is both a general standard under the ADA to make accommodations, and a general standard of medical practice. But, to my knowledge, there isn't a specific regulation fleshing operationalizing that requirement more specifically in the way that there would be, for example, for handicap parking space allocations. In practice, your usually going to need them to meet the standards, however. – ohwilleke May 2 at 21:22

I've looked around on this before and never come up with any law that requires them to wheel you out. The consensus seems to be that this is a way to avoid liability if you were to fall and hurt yourself on the way out.

Of course, you could just as easily fall while you're walking around before discharge, so I don't really understand why they're so focused on this one event.

  • 1
    The question is about the requirement to provide wheelchairs generally, and mentions being at the entrance, as a matter of disability accommodation. It has nothing to do with staff using wheelchairs to discharge patients nor the civil liability for it. – Nij May 2 at 1:22
  • Yep, I misread it. Thanks. – bdb484 May 2 at 1:23

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