January 13, 1994 Congressman Amory Houghton 32 Denison Parkway West Corning, New York 14830 Dear Congressman Houghton

: Thank you for your courtesy and interest in the problem that we discussed during our telephone conversation January 3, 1994. Your assistance in solving our dilemma--which seems to involve the spirit of the law, as opposed to the letter of the law, but has great access and cost repercussions--would be greatly appreciated. Specifically, our problem involves an interpretation of the Americans With Disabilities Act by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board--wherein it is their position that all bathroom facilities in a new or substantially renovated medical office suite be built to handicap specifications. This means that each of these rooms must be oversized (about two times normal) and have special toilets, sinks and support/transfer bars. In a busy primary care office such as ours, where each of three to eight examination rooms requires its own bathroom, this certainly creates an undue hardship and may in fact, reduce access to care if we cannot sufficiently expand our operation to meet current patient demand. Even if we can find the additional space to meet their expectations, it significantly increases the cost of providing health care services. Please be assured that it is not our intention to ignore the needs of our physically disabled patients or employees. On the contrary, we support and are more than willing to comply with the spirit of the Americans With Disabilities Act. However, it is our position that reasonable accommodations can certainly be made for affected individuals by having one bathroom in our suite--as well as all corridors and passageways--accessible to the handicapped. I would note that the Health Center For Women, where our office is located, was constructed only two years ago and also provides excellent access parameters and handicapped-accessible public facilities. I honestly believe that the addition of one handicapped bathroom in our suite will adequately complement these accommodations, without creating undue and counter-productive hardships for our medical 01-03134

Congressman Amory Houghton January 13, 1994


offices. It is also worthwhile to note that other parameters associated with accessing our services (such as parking) don't have to be 100% handicapped accessible. Rather, only a representative portion of available parking spaces have to be handicapped accessible. Finally, it is important to note that the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment opportunity Commission have published their interpretation of the ADA (attached), wherein they indicate that only "a reasonable number . . . of bathrooms must be made accessible." Unfortunately, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board--to which the EEOC refers technical questions on accessible design in new construction and alterations-does not share this view. Again, any assistance you can give us in negotiating this legal gridlock would be greatly appreciated. Respectfully,

Bruce Surosky, M.D. BS/aob 01-03135