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Volume 107, Issue 7

Note

Websites, Wellness, and Winn-Dixie: Telehealth Accessibility During COVID-19 and Beyond

Peyton B. Brooks, J.D., Cornell Law School, 2023

1 Nov 2022

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with disabilities struggled to find proper access to health care. According to a report by the disability services organization Easterseals, approximately forty-six percent of those who had used Easterseals services lost access to health care between the beginning of the public health emergency in March 2020 and April 2021. Furthermore, forty-two percent of those surveyed did not engage in telehealth, citing, among other reasons, “access issues” or “feeling [telehealth] would not serve their needs.” Given the high likelihood that telehealth will remain significant in the landscape of American health care going forward, legal and policy experts have expressed concerns about the potential effects this may have on people with disabilities.

This Note will focus on the relationship between websites and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a specific emphasis on websites that provide telehealth services. First, I will explore the historical context behind the ADA and the ways in which this context supports its application to telehealth. Second, I will argue that, while the “sufficient nexus” test used in several circuits poses various legal and policy issues that make it unsuited to execute the ADA’s purpose of preventing discrimination, telehealth succeeds under both this test as well as its alternative, the “privately operated” test. Third, I will discuss the implications of establishing that Title III applies to telehealth both within and beyond the health care field, while suggesting how relevant stakeholders can adapt to such a change.

To read this Note, please click here: Websites, Wellness, and Winn-Dixie: Telehealth Accessibility During Covid-19 and Beyond.

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