ALTON, Ill. – Legislation passed by state Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Alton that would require hospitals and other health care facilities to make efforts to have closed captioning on televisions activated to help individuals with hearing loss was signed into law last week.
“Many individuals who have hearing loss often face added challenges when trying to enjoy television while in a hospital or health care facility because the closed captioning feature is not always being activated, or being turned on and off,” said Bristow. “This legislation would require that facilities ensure that closed captioning is activated. This issue was brought to me by Angela Botz, Community Outreach Coordinator & ILS-Deaf Services and the IMPACT Center for Independent Living, and I want to thank her and everyone at IMPACT for their work and advocacy in removing barriers for people with disabilities and helping them live independent lives.”
House Bill 3468 requires televisions in hospitals and healthcare facilities to make reasonable efforts to have closed captioning activated at all times to better accommodate those who are hearing impaired. This would apply to common areas used by the public, like a waiting or recreation room, and in patients’ rooms. Since most televisions already have closed captioning and there is no requirement to immediately replace ones without closed captioning, there is no additional costs for providers under this legislation.
“Our mission has been to improve the lives of people with disabilities and make the world more accessible and accepting,” said Cathy Contarino, Executive Director at IMPACT. “With this legislation we are ensuring that individuals who have hearing loss are still able to enjoy television while in health care centers and facilities in Illinois or while visiting a loved one, and we appreciate Rep. Bristow’s work in ensuring this legislation became law.”