A medical student with dyslexia filed a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) violated Title III the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAA) and its implementing regulation in NBME's administration of United States Medical Licensing Examine (USMLE). Specifically, the student alleged that the USME improperly found that he did not prove that he had a disability within the meaning of the ADAA and improperly refused to provide him with his requested accommodations on the 2008 and 2010 administrations of the USMLE.
On February 23, 2011, the United States Department of Justice and NBME entered into a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement, which lasted for three years, required:
- NBME to provide reasonable accommodations as required by the ADAA, 42 U.S.C. § 12189 and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. §36.309.
- NBME would only request documentation that would be required to prove that an individual applying for accommodations did in fact have a disability under the ADAA and how that disability would effect the individual's ability to take the USMLE.
- NBME was required to "carefully consider" the opinion of medical professionals who have diagnosed individuals with reading disabilities and to consider supported, bona fide reasons for late diagnosis.
- NBME was required to determine whether an individuals ability to read was substantially limited compared to the reading ability of "most people."
- NBME was allowed to make a timely request for supplemental documentation and to have an applicant tested by its own medical professionals at its own expense to test the accuracy of the applicant's diagnosis of a disability.
- NBME was not required to provide accommodations that would fundamentally alter the test or endanger the security of the test.
- NBME was required to give "considerable weight" to accommodations given on similar tests as well as accommodations received through Individualized Education Plans created pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or individualized plans under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (know as 504 Plans).
- NBME was required to give the complaining medical student double the allotted time on the USMLE and to give him a separate testing room.
- NMBE was allowed to report the complain medical student's score in the same manner as it reported other scores of individuals who received testing accommodations.
- The United States was empowered to enforce the agreement and ensure NMBE complaince with the terms of the settlement.
- NMBE agreed not to retaliate or discriminate against any individual with a disability.
The settlement agreement expired on February 23, 2014 thereby closing the case.Brian Kempfer - 06/08/2014