Open Enrollment 2019: 508 Compliance & Beyond

 In Articles, Compliance, Healthcare, PDF Accessibility

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How to Better Meet 508 Requirements this Open Enrollment Season

With November 1st right around the corner, organizations are looking for ways to streamline the process. The same issues crop up each year. Before the open enrollment deadline, organizations scramble for last minute remediation to ensure enrollment documents are accessible before they are uploaded. So, what can be done to improve the open enrollment process for 2019?

Many of our clients are now looking into “hybrid” approaches that use multiple methods to ensure compliant documents are created in the most efficient manner.

The Hybrid Approach

  1. Professional remediation services for time sensitive, mission critical documents
  2. Internal remediation for less time sensitive documents
  3. Automated solutions for documents where appropriate

Professional Remediation Services

Traditionally, the open enrollment process requires last minute remediation of the final versions of the CMS documents used for EOC’s, ANOCS, Directories, Formularies and similar documents. If these documents are changed after open enrollment, they will need to be remediated again for 508 compliance. Typically, 508 compliance remediation needs to be done quickly and requires 100% compliance; that means most organizations choose to use a guaranteed 508 remediation service such as CommonLook’s Accessibility Services. This works well for many organizations, but there are other options that can be more efficient and economical in the long run, but they require an initial investment in time and resources.

Internal Remediation with Training

For documents that need ongoing remediation as changes are made throughout the year, the work can be done internally with the proper tools and training. While Adobe Acrobat Professional/DC is the first requirement, more robust tools are required for the remediation work, to test the finished document and to certify the output to Section 508, WCAG 2.0, HHS and/or PDF/UA compliance. An increasing number of clients are investing in CommonLook’s PDF Plugin to do some of their own remediation work in-house. This requires professional coaching via CommonLook Training classes. We highly recommend that training be purchased along with a software investment to guarantee success. We offer a full set of training classes from beginner to expert to assist our customers in their remediation projects.

Automated Services

The final piece to the hybrid approach is to look at documents that are potential candidates for automated accessibility solutions. Some open enrollment documents have a fixed format and are generated from database systems to create the final PDF document. EOC and ANOC documents are good candidates for automated approaches.

Rather than having to generate these documents and then remediating them (either via an outside 508 Compliance vendor, or internally), these documents are automatically created accessible as part of your backend processes using our CommonLook Dynamic technology. CommonLook Dynamic creates 100% certified accessible PDF files from database systems that meet the requirement of your choice including Section 508 (WCAG 2.0), HHS and/or PDF/UA. We can guarantee 100% compliance because we build the templates for your final documents and use our proprietary PDF technology for the creation of the properly tagged PDF output. If your database systems vendor is struggling with 508 compliance, have them reach out to us. CommonLook can build-in 508 compliance into their database systems for documents with a standardized format.

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CommonLook’s recommended approach is to move beyond remediation alone and use the hybrid approach for handling 508 compliance. By taking the time to review your requirements, once the busy season is over, you can plan for next year to make the overall process less stressful and more cost effective and efficient.

Using a “hybrid” approach to remediation services, software authoring, remediation tools and automation tools like CommonLook Dynamic can make open enrollment season much easier when it comes to accessible document production.

Schedule a Dynamic demo today.