Friday, June 12, 2015

Covered California IG Audit finds Deficits for the Disabled





For the Affordable Care Act this is a big item.  California is the most populous state in the United States. During the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, California was one of many states which decided to develop their own Health Insurance Exchange, COVERED CALIFORNIA  It arrived with some pros and cons.


State Run Health Insurance Exchanges



Here we are three years later, with additional 'bugs'. and millions of dollars in overrides plus changing key vendors in the journey to affordable care.  It seems programming remote satellites for autonomous crusing through the solar system and landing on asteroids as well as Mars is simple stuff compared to the 'rocket science of health information technology.

Some of the items the IG has discovered include:

Covered California's website is not fully accessible to residents with disabilities, impeding their attempts to purchase health coverage through the state exchange, according to a new state auditU-T San Diego reports





Covered California Findings

Of the four departments included in the audit, Covered California's website had the most violations of Web accessibility standards. The audit reviewed 57 pages of the exchange's site and found:
  • 55 pages with distinct accessibility violations; and
  • Seven pages with common accessibility violations.
Overall, the audit found more than 300 critical accessibility violations on the site that made certain content "completely inaccessible to users."
For example, the audit found that individuals with motor disabilities who are unable to use a mouse to navigate the Internet would be unable to complete an application on Covered California's website using a keyboard.
While Covered California tested for accessibility before launching its website, the audit found that the exchange failed to perform regular, automatic tests of the accessibility of later updates to the site.
In addition, while no accessibility complaints have been filed for Covered California's site since June 2013, the audit found that the exchange did not include on its site all of the contact information for complaints that is recommended by state policy. According to the audit, "When departments do not provide multiple forms of contact information, the risk increases that users will be unable to complain about Web accessibility problems they may encounter so that departments can fix those issues."

While some deficits may be due to state web sites built in  functions many computer operating systems or general add-on equipment allow for access by the disabled with low vision and/or motor problems, speech to text and text to speech are readily available as well.


For the visually impaired 


For those with motor or multiple handicaps

For example, the audit found that individuals with motor disabilities who are unable to use a mouse to navigate the Internet would be unable to complete an application on Covered California's website using a keyboard.

While Covered California tested for accessibility before launching its website, the audit found that the exchange failed to perform regular, automatic tests of the accessibility of later updates to the site.

The IG found 'non-events', however this may be due to the content "completely inaccessible to users."

The deficits were not isolate to the Covered California health exchange but were also found in other state web sites.

In addition to Covered California, the audit reviewed the websites for:
  • California Community Colleges;
  • The California Department of Human Resources; and
  • The state Franchise Tax Board.
Of the four departments included in the audit, Covered California's website had the most violations of Web accessibility standards.




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