Access to bathrooms for people with medical conditions may get easier in DC

If you have a medical condition and have to get to a bathroom fast in D.C., a new bill may make it easier.

The bill would require retail establishments to allow certain members of the public to use restrooms meant for customers or employees only.

“This bill is intended to support our neighbors who are dealing with medical conditions that require immediate access to a restroom,” said Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto, who is a sponsor of the bill, during a May meeting.

Some of the conditions that would be applicable: Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pregnancy, medical conditions that require the use of an ostomy device, or any other related medical conditions to be eligible for a medical necessity certificate.

Anyone with one of those conditions would be able to get a special certificate through the D.C. government with a sign off by a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.

Council members said the program would likely be run through D.C.’s Office of Human Rights. Exact details have not been ironed out.

“I do want to emphasize the importance of ensuring that our patients do have a standardized government document to present to businesses when they need to use the restroom,” Pinto said.

“We envision this operating similar to how the DMV uses handicap placards,” said Council member Vincent Gray, who also sponsors the bill.

The bill passed its first reading earlier this month.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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