Dots and Dashes 8/5/19

“Dots and Dashes” is a short newsletter featuring a variety of topics and ACB stories. This issue features articles about the reintroduction of the low vision devices bill, Walmart and Sam’s Club providing accessible labels, ACB presenting an Audio Description Award to Dr. Brett Oppegaard, Facebook Live, the Exercise and Fitness for All Act, and the latest Advocacy Update podcast.


Maloney and Bilirakis Introduce Bill to Help Visually Impaired Americans

To read the full version of this release online, visit

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2019 – Today, Reps.  Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) reintroduced the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act, H.R. 4129. This legislation would help Medicare beneficiaries live safe and independent lives by creating a five-year national demonstration project administered by the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate the economic impact of allowing reimbursement for low vision devices under the Social Security Act, which are currently excluded from Medicare coverage. 

“The American Council of the Blind commends Representatives Maloney and Bilirakis for introducing this legislation that will improve access to low-vision devices for all Americans living with vision loss. Making low-vision devices more affordable is imperative to increasing the independence and quality of life for people who are blind and visually impaired, and ACB and our members urge Congress to support this legislation,” said ACB Executive Director Eric Bridges.  

Original co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO).


Walmart and Sam’s Club Set Standard for Providing Accessible Prescription Labels Across U.S.

To read the full version of this release, go to 

BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 18, 2019 — Walmart and Sam’s Club are deeply committed to accessibility and medication safety for their blind, visually impaired and print-impaired pharmacy patients. To enhance their commitment, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies provide En-Vision America’s ScripTalk audible (i.e. “talking”) prescription labels at Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies across the United States.

Since 2012, Walmart and Sam’s Club have equipped almost 1,200 of their pharmacies to provide ScripTalk audible prescription labels at a patient’s request. More than 750 pharmacies have been equipped in the past three years, with 25 additional Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies (on average) set up to provide ScripTalk labels each month.

“The American Council of the Blind is excited Walmart and Sam’s Club are showing their dedication to the safety and accessibility for the visually impaired through ScripTalk availability, setting an important standard in accessibility in healthcare. Our relationship with Walmart has flourished over the years, and we look forward to continued growth,” says Eric Bridges, ACB’s executive director.


ACB Presents Audio Description Award to Dr. Brett Oppegaard, University of Hawaii

To read the full version of this release, visit

The American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project presented the Dr. Margaret R. Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award in Audio Description – Research and Development to Dr. Brett Oppegaard. In conjunction with ACB’s 58th annual conference and convention in Rochester, N.Y., the award was presented at a plenary session of the conference before over 1,000 people who are blind.

When Dr. Oppegaard received a box containing 400 U.S. National Park Service brochures in 2014, it came with a challenge from the U.S. government: make these visually oriented pieces of paper – brochures handed out at every NPS visitor center in the country – accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. 

“Reading a park brochure is the most common activity at NPS sites, for good reason,” said Eric Bridges, ACB’s executive director. “In response to the challenge, Dr. Oppegaard and his research team launched The UniDescription Project, Over the past five years, they have built the critical information infrastructure, media production, and dissemination tools necessary to develop audio description for national park brochures. Since 2014, the UniD team, under Dr. Oppegaard’s direction, has supported the creation of new audio description for over 60 National Park Service sites via the free UniD mobile app, or on NPS websites.”

The Achievement Awards are made to individuals and/or organizations for outstanding contributions to the establishment and/or continued development of significant audio description programs.


Exercise & Fitness for All Act

On April 30, 2019, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) presented S. 1244, the Exercise and Fitness for All Act, to the Senate. The bill calls for both the creation of accessibility standards for exercise equipment as well as the development of tax credits for small businesses that procure accessible exercise equipment.

With the passage of such a bill, the U.S. Access Board would be charged with developing guidelines to set standards to accessible fitness equipment. For instance, settings such as audible announcements and large-print screens would be required. 

ACB encourages you to contact your senators to promote the bill. Work on a similar bill in the House of Representatives is ongoing.


Facebook Live

On Friday, July 26th, Clark and Claire celebrated the ADA’s 29th anniversary by talking about what they’ve been able to do in life because of the ADA. View the video at


Advocacy Updates

In the July 26th edition of Advocacy Updates, join Clark Rachfal as he chats with Amanda Tolson, En-Vision America, and JoAnn Stephens and Carrie Farber, Walmart, to discuss how Walmart is making the ScripTalk accessible prescription solution available at all Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs throughout the U.S. To get started with ScripTalk, call En-Vision America at 1-800-890-1180, or speak with your local Walmart or Sam’s Club pharmacist today!

Got an idea for a future podcast? Send it to


Donate to ACB