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April 2015 Highlights

PROJECT WIDE NEWS


Announcements

Payment Management System Webinar, Monday, May 4, 2015, 3-5p.m. EST
The Payment Management System (PMS) provides awarding HHS Agencies and Grant recipients the tools to manage grant payment requests and disbursement reporting activities.  This webinar will feature information from Ms. Tonja Thomas of HHS who will discuss the PMS application and navigating through the PMS system menus and processes. All AT Act Programs and their financial offices are encouraged to attend!  Captioning will be provided, and an archive of this webinar will be available on the RESNA Catalyst Project Website. 
Please register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8675557227109447937.

Transfer of Grant Funds from ED/RSA to HHS/ACL
In January, Rob Groenendaal, Assistive Technology Program Manager, emailed AT Act Programs notifying of the transfer of grant funds from ED/RSA to HHS/ACL, which began on February 24, and will end on or before May 8, 2015.  Below are additional key dates, and a reiteration of suggested preparatory actions: 

  • On or before May 8, 2015
    Anticipated date by which HHS will issue replacement grants and make funds available in PMS.  During the freeze period, HHS will provide additional information regarding the exact date when funds will be available.
  • Wednesday, September 30, 2015
    Deadline to obligate all remaining ED grant funds drawn down from G5.
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2015
    Deadline to: Liquidate all obligated ED grant funds.  Submit final SF-425 report to ED.  Details on how to submit this report will be sent to you in a future communication.

If you have questions, please contact Rob Groenendaal at Robert.Groenendaal@ed.gov.

Below are links from ED covering information that will help you understand how to access your official ACL grant file in GrantSolutions and prepare to draw down funds from the HHS Payment Management System (PMS). 

GrantSolutions Links and Information:

  • GrantSolutions Web Site (main page)
  • GrantSolutions Login page
  • GrantSolutions ACL Grantee Resources
    • Grantee Basics: PDF version of a PowerPoint presentation with introductory information
    • Links to a few of ACL’s customized GrantSolutions Training Videos:
      • Requesting, Modifying, or Deleting a GrantSolutions User Account
        Video|Transcript(PDF, 104KB)
      • Logging Into and Navigating GrantSolutions
        Video | Transcript (PDF, 112KB)
      • My Grants List: Accessing and Viewing Your Official Grant File
        Video| Transcript (PDF, 99KB)
  • GrantSolutions Help Desk: (202) 401-5282 or (866) 577-0771 or Email:help@grantsolutions.gov

Payment Management System (PMS) Links and Information:
ThePayment Management System (PMS) provides awarding HHS Agencies and Grant recipients the tools to manage grant payment requests, and disbursement reporting activities.

  • To register for a PMS Account, you must complete the SF-1199A form and the PMS Access Form, and send the originals to PSC.  Some of the information needed for these forms is included on your NoA.
  • PMS Help Desk: (877) 614-5533; Email:PMSSupport@psc.gov, which includes, but is not limited to, responding to questions regarding the PMS application and assisting users having difficulty navigating through PMS application system menus and processes plus other things. 

AT Program News - Call for Content
The next edition of AT Program News (http://www.atprogramnews.com/newsletter-archive.html) will report on the ABLE Act and its significance to our community of assistive technology stakeholders.  If you are involved in crafting ABLE legislation on the state level, what advice or questions do you have for other states?  Are there other ABLE Act-ions your program is taking to get ready for state-level implementation?

Send submissions, ideas, and suggestions to atprogramnews@gmail.com by May 7th, 2015.  All submissions are provided with editing support.

RESNA Catalyst Project and ATIA Webinars for 2015
The RESNA Catalyst Project continues its partnership with ATIA to offer live and archived webinars to all AT Act Entities!  A total of 650 seats will be available through September 2015.  The webinar subscription code is 15PDRESNA. This is referred to as the “Discount Code” in the online registration form and is the same for all registrations. The discount code must be used during the webinar and conference recording registration process to ensure the system does not charge any additional fees. Multiple attendees and multiple webinars can be registered during one registration transaction.  However, each person for each webinar and conference recording counts as one registration. To access the online registration process visit www.atia.org/webinarregistration. Online directories of Live Broadcast and Archived Recording webinars are available at www.atia.org/webinars. Each listing includes full details of the webinar and an option to register.

Upcoming Events

RESNA Annual Conference - June 10-14, 2015
The annual RESNA conference (not the SGAT or AFP/Re-Use conferences), June 10-14, 2015, in Denver, Colorado, is a unique, multi-disciplinary gathering of assistive technology professionals from around the world. No other assistive technology conference connects professionals from across so many different AT and professional specialties. Whether you specialize in seating and mobility, communication, computer access, universal design, or new technologies - RESNA is the place where connections are made and conversations happen!  To learn more and register, visit http://www.resna.org/news-events/conference-news/resna-2015-conference-will-feature-hot-trends-assistive-technology.

2015 ATAP Conference - July 13-15, 2015
This year’s SGAT program conference is being sponsored by ATAP, and will be at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza, in Washington, DC.  For more information and to register, visit the ATAP Conference registration link is at http://www.ataporg.org/ConferenceRegistration.aspx.

2015 AFP and Reuse Conference - August 31, and September 1, 2015
The RESNA Catalyst Project is very pleased to announce that in conjunction with the Pass It On Center, will host an Alternative Financing and Reuse Programs Conference inWashington, DC, August 31 and September 1, 2015.  The Conference will be held at theLiaison Capitol Hill hotel in Washington, DC.  The Conference agenda is being finalized, and more information will be coming soon.  Registration is free, and can be accessed at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-alternative-financing-and-re-use-conference-registration-16220135863. Register today today and see you in August!

Recent Events

Webinar: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards and Planning Accessible Design in Device Demonstration and Display Rooms for AT Act Programs-April 15, 2015
This webinar discussed improving the quality of AT Act program accessibility for AT Act Device Demonstrations.  An archive of this webinar is available at http://www.adaconferences.org/RESNA/Archives/.  About this webinar series: For the last four years, the Great Lakes and Southwest ADA Centers have joined with the RESNA Catalyst Project to provide a series of free webinar sessions to meet the needs of the AT Act Programs.  The sessions are designed to provide timely information by experts on various aspects technology and its interface with issues covered under the ADA.

STATEWIDE AT PROGRAMS


Announcements

Technology Lemon Law Update on RESNA Catalyst Project’s Website
Recently, the RESNA Catalyst Project updated its Lemon Law Webpage and added a link to the older Lemon Law Webpages. This information has also been added to the larger website database, so if you do a topic search on Lemon Laws, you will find it.  Please email pgalonsky@resna.org if edits are needed or if you would like to add your state’s information.  Thank you.

New Mexico’s Statewide AT Program’s Updated Website
The Governor’s Commission on Disability’s New Mexico Technology Assistance Program (NMTAP) website has been recently updated.  You can visit   www.tap.gcd.state.nm.us to see how NMTAP is providing access and information on Assistive Technology for individuals with any disability, of any age, living anywhere in New Mexico!

Upcoming Events

Statewide AT Directors Forum - Thursday, May 14, 2015, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director Joey Wallace invites all Statewide AT Directors to the next Statewide AT Directors Forum.  The Forum is designed for SGAT Directors to talk informally about AT Act topics and programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations.  During this call, Joey will facilitate a discussion, which will focus on service contracts, service provisions, and fee for services.  In addition, Leslie Novacek and Desirae Vallier with Nebraska’s Assistive Technology Partnership along with Tammy Koger from the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program, will discuss contracting with their state’s vocational rehabilitation programs and what makes their partnerships successful.  To participate on this call, dial 800-351-6810 Passcode: 46172076#.  If you have accessibility requests or have any questions, please contact Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org.

Next Deaf Hard of Hearing Work Group - Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 3-4:00p.m. Eastern
The RESNA Catalyst Project along with Laura Plummer, Project Director with Wisconsin Assistive Technology Program (WisTech), will continue to hold the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Work Group on May 27, 2015.  We are currently thinking about topics and ideas for this upcoming Work Group call.  If you have ideas, please email them to pgalonsky@resna.org. To participate in May, please dial 800-211-4163, and pass code 0521244#. If you have accessibility requests or have any questions, please contact Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org.
The Deaf/Hard of Hearing Work Group is designed to share in, and address, technical issues and solutions current to technologies for individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. In addition, a LinkedIn page is available to share information and resources. To participate in this LinkedIn Group, visit https://www.linkedin.com/groups/RESNA-Catalyst-Deaf-HOH-Workgroup-6746896/about.

Save the Date!  Statewide AT Program New Directors Webinar/Call-Quality Services and Indicators - Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern
Under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (AT Act), as amended, statewide AT Act programs must provide a variety of assistive technology services consistently and in a quality manner.  This upcoming webinar/ call will feature information on Quality Services and Indicators found in the fifth module of the New Director’s Curriculum (http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/newdirectors/mod5quality.html).  In addition, Amy Goldman, Co-Executive Director for Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology, will be on hand to share in her Program’s experiences using the Self-Assessment for Quality Indicators.  Finally, this call will allow time for New SGAT Directors to discuss issues they are currently facing. All New and Veteran Directors are welcome to join!  To join the webinar, you must first register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/752667752374900225. Live Captioning will be provided.

PAAT PROGRAMS


Announcements

The Latest in NLS’s Did You Know Series - “Power Wheelchairs for Young Children - Supporting Medicaid Funding for Children as Young as Two Years Old”
This two-page document was recently published at http://www.nls.org/files/Disability%20Law%20Hotlines/Did%20You%20Know/DY%20Know%20-%20Power%20Wheelchairs%20for%20Young%20Children.pdf.  It summarizes findings from a number of recent studies that support the use of power wheelchairs for young children, including a RESNA position paper with an extensive bibliography of source material.  It also includes summaries of two recent Medicaid fair hearing decisions that awarded funding for power wheelchairs for very young children, with one awarding funding for a girl who was two and one half years old.  As noted, these hearing decisions are available through the National AT Advocacy Project by contacting Marge Gustas (mgustas@nls.org).  Those with an interest in this topic may wish to attend our session at the NDRN conference, “Meeting the AT Needs of Infants, Toddlers, and Very Young Children:  Looking to Medicaid and IDEA for Funding” (see conference details below).  You may also want to check out our Winter 2008 edition of theAT Advocate newsletter, “MEDICAID, AT AND KIDS - How Medicaid’s EPSDT Program Expands the Availability of Assistive Technology for Children Under 21 in All States,” available at http://www.nls.org/files/AT%20Advocate%20Newsletters/Advocatewinter08.pdf.

REGISTER NOW!   June 1-4, 2015, for the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) Annual Meeting and Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana.

  • Registration information, including links for both registration and hotel reservations (JW Marriott), are available at http://ndrn.org/en/events/annual-conference.html. Cutoff date for hotel room block is Monday, May 4th.
  • The National AT Advocacy Project will have a significant presence at the conference, presenting/co-presenting at a full-day institute and three 90-minute sessions (note adjustments to earlier schedule).
  • Confirmed lineup of AT-related sessions for the NDRN conference, with tentative times, and confirmed speakers in most cases:
    • Monday, June 1, 2015 (a full-day “Transition” institute) - expected to touch on transition requirements in IDEA and vocational rehabilitation law and regulations; some innovative approaches to use of AT in employment; and address how AT can be funded to support a work goal
    • Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 8:30 to 10:00 - “Meeting the AT Needs of Infants, Toddlers, and Very Young Children:  Looking to Medicaid and IDEA for Funding.”  Speakers:  Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal, National AT Advocacy Project; Ron Hager, NDRN.
    • Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 3:30 to 5:00 - “Medicaid Hearings and AT:  What’s In Your Toolkit?”  Speakers:  Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal and James R. Sheldon, Supervising Attorney, National AT Advocacy Project, Buffalo, NY
    • Thursday, June 4, 2015 - “Overcoming Medicaid’s Most Common Reasons for Saying No to AT Funding Requests:  Changing a No to a Yes.”  Speakers:  Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal and James R. Sheldon, Supervising Attorney, National AT Advocacy Project.

ALTERNATIVE FINANCING AND TELEWORK LOAN PROGRAMS


Announcements

New Loan Directors Series
The RESNA Catalyst Project will be hosting a series of calls for new Directors of loan programs.  These will be structured around topics of interest and necessity for new program staff, and will be geared towards program directors that have been involved for less than one year.  If you are interested in participating please contact Jason at jluciano@resna.org.

Individual TA Calls with Loan Program Directors
The RESNA Catalyst Project, in conjunction with ACL, is continuing to set up individual calls for loan program directors to discuss program needs.  These are short, usually lasting approximately 30 minutes.  Keep an eye out for contact from Jason Luciano to schedule a time.

Revisions to the Quality Indicators Manual
The RESNA Catalyst Project will be convening a work group to work on updates and revisions to the 2012 Quality Indicators Manual.  If you are interested in joining this work group, please contact Jason Luciano at jluciano@resna.org

Recent Events

New Grantee Call - April 16, 2015
The monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees was held April 16, 2015, 4:00p.m. Eastern.  These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.

Upcoming Events

New Grantee Call - May 21, 2015, 4-5:00p.m. Eastern
The next monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees will be May 21, 2015, 4:00p.m. Eastern.  These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.  For more information, contact Jason Luciano at jluciano@resna.org.

Loan Directors Open Forum Call - May 19th 3-4:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace will host an all Loan Program Directors Forum in May.  This forum is designed for Directors to talk informally about programmatic issues that they may be currently facing, as well as technical guidance adhering to federal and state regulations.  In addition, this forum is intended to provide for open discussion and sharing across programs. Please join by calling 1-800-211-4163 with pass code 57 48 484#.

Credit Builders Alliance Webinar - TBD
The RESNA Catalyst Project will be hosting a webinar in which the Credit Builder’s Alliance (CBA) will present the benefits of enhancing credit building  to best meet the needs of your program’s applicants.  CBA representatives will be able to discuss the services offered and how they can work your program.  Please be on the lookout for more information on this exciting and informative event - coming soon!

OTHER RESOURCES

Resource Guide for the Physically Blind
From: PhysicalTherapists.com
Blindness is a medical condition that is categorized by poor visual perception.  The American Medical Association has described blindness as visual acuity of 20/200 of worse while wearing a corrective lens.  There are different levels of severity of blindness, ranging from visual impairments to total blindness.  A person can be born without sight, or a loss of vision can occur with age.  More than 285 million people on the planet are visually impaired, and most do not receive the help they need to get by in a number of day-to-day situations.  A number of medical professionals have dedicated their lives to studying the eye and vision with the hopes of finding rehabilitation methods or cures to blindness.  Many resources exist online to provide support, tips, and further information about blindness for those who are blind or visually impaired.   Access the resource guide at http://www.physicaltherapists.com/articles/resource-guide-for-the-physically-blind.html.

Autism Speaks New Jobs Portal
There is a new Autism Speaks initiative to help create employment opportunities for individuals with autism and other disabilities.  It’s a new website called TheSpectrumCareers and the mission is to connect employers with employable individuals with autism and other disabilities. The way it works is simple:

  • Job seekers register for the site and use a simple tool to upload/create a resume, skills and interests. They will also have tools to upload videos of themselves performing job-related tasks.
  • Employers will also have tools to upload photos/videos of their workspace, along with a traditional job description.
  • Job coaches and other employment service providers are encouraged to register as well! If an individual with autism or another disability indicates that they would like to use (or are interested in learning about) support services, they will be connected to these providers in addition to the employers in their area who have openings.

Free Continuing Education Opportunity for ATPs - May 8, 2015
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) will present a free continuing education opportunity entitled Comprehensive Automotive Mobility Solutions for Health Professionals.  This course will be held on May 8, 2015 at BraunAbility in Winamac, IN, and is sponsored by Sure Grip and Superior Van & Mobility. It is approved for 6 RESNA contact hours.  Overnight hotel accommodations will be provided to attendees for free on Thursday evening as well. The following is a brief overview of the course: This introductory continuing education course contains a range of topics pertaining to personal automotive mobility solutions. It will assist the allied health care practitioner in understanding and advocating for individuals seeking automotive vehicle modification solutions, while also teaching practitioners about the unique process involved in evaluating, selecting and purchasing appropriate automotive options.

Please view the following links for the full course description (including outline, learning objectives, and outcomes) as well as the registration form for this event:

Please contact Andrea Vrobel regarding this training opportunity at andrea.vrobel@ralphbraunfoundation.org.  Space is limited, so please don’t delay in signing up to participate!

NIDILRR Policy-related Programs Open for Applications
The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), continues to accept applications for two policy-related programs.  The Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Program: Research Policy Fellowship is open to institutions of higher education. Deadline for applications is May 15th.  The Distinguished Residential Disability and Rehabilitation Policy Fellowship is open to individual researchers. Deadline for applications is May 18th.  For more information, see the individual Federal Register announcements and these tutorial guides prepared by NIDILRR.

AT Radio & Podcasts in Indiana
INDATA has launched an internet radio station. AssistiveTechnologyRadio.com broadcasts 24/7 and includes a wide variety of AT programs.  Programs include INDATA’s two podcasts as well as various AT training sessions.  To view and listen to the growing list of episodes, visit:http://www.eastersealstech.com/on-air/.  INDATA will include audio content from other AT projects.  To submit radio content or to learn more about INDATA's AT radio and podcasts contact Wade Wingler at wwingler@eastersealscrossroads.org.


Follow the RESNA Catalyst Project on Twitter today! @ResnaCatalyst
The RESNA Catalyst Project now has a Twitter feed on the homepage at www.resnaprojects.org. Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read "tweets", which are text messages limited to 140 characters.

Follow what is happening with the RESNA Catalysts Online Calendar
The RESNA Catalyst Projects event calendar is on the homepage at www.resnaprojects.org. This interactive calendar allows individuals to access information on upcoming events as well as visit recent ones. Most events reported in these Highlights Newsletters will now be a simple click away to download, register, and share!

Product Disclaimer

AT product information contained above is distributed by the RESNA Catalyst Project for informational purposes only. Endorsement or recommendation is neither intended nor implied, and the RESNA Catalyst Project, RESNA, RESNA employees, collaborators, and partners take no responsibility for individual decisions, and shall bear no liability for any loss or damages resulting from the use of this information.


The RESNA Catalyst Project provides technical assistance to Statewide Assistive Technology Programs, Alternative Financing Programs & Access to Telework Programs, and Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology Programs. RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America, is the premier professional organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions.

This newsletter is produced by the RESNA Catalyst Project under a grant funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U.S. Department of Education (RSA/ED) through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended. The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of RSA/ED or RESNA and no official endorsement of the materials should be inferred.

Contact Information: RESNA Catalyst Project, 1700 North Moore Street, Suite 1540, Arlington, VA 22209-1903; (703) 524-6686 (voice), (866) 342-6572 (voice), (703) 524-6630 (FAX), (703) 524-6639 (TTY). Email: catalyst@resna.org; Website: http://www.resnaprojects.org.