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February 2015 Highlights

PROJECT WIDE NEWS


Announcements

Transfer of Grant Funds from ED/RSA to HHS/ACL
In January, Rob Groenendaal 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 is a list of additional key dates, and a reiteration of suggested preparatory actions:

  • Monday, February 23, 2015
    Last day to draw down ED grant funds from G5. This is also the last day to return excess funds to G5.
    Note: Funds drawn from a grant account in G5 generally must be deposited in interest bearing accounts unless certain conditions exist. Governmental grantees may retain $100 interest earned on advances each year and non-governmental grantees may retain $250 interest earned on advances each year.
  • Tuesday, February 24, 2015
    Access to any remaining funds for ED grant funds will be frozen in G5.
  • Tuesday, March 3, 2015
    ED will electronically send AT Act Program Grantees a memo indicating the remaining balance for their grant. The authorized representative for the grant must confirm or contest the balance with ED. Procedures for confirming or contesting the balance will be included in the memo.
  • Monday, March 9, 2015
    Deadline to confirm or contest the balance of ED grant funds. If you do not respond by this date, ED will treat your lack of a response as an agreement with the balance specified in the memo sent on March 3, 2015. If you contest the balance, ED will work with you to reconcile the difference. After you confirm your grant balance, ED will issue you an attachment to your GAN reflecting the final ED grant amount.
  • On or before March 30, 2015
    Projected completion date for the transfer of ED grant funds to HHS.
  • 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.

Farewell to Michele Seybert and Judie Lee
After working for 10 years with the United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan’s Loan Funds Program, Fund Manager Michele Seybert will be retiring on March 27, 2015. Michele said in a recent email to all Alternative Financing Programs, “I am very grateful for the opportunity to have worked with these valuable programs, and wish you all continued success with them.”

Judie Lee, Chief Executive Officer for over 21 years with North Dakota’s Interagency Program for Assistive Technology, will be retiring at the end of March. Judie says “It has been a great ride, and I will miss the exciting-challenging work associated with the AT Programs.” Congratulations Michele and Judie. You will be missed!

Upcoming Events

Webinar-Demonstration of the VRX System: A Person-Centered Expert System for Matching Individuals with Needed Workplace Accommodations -March 11, 2015, 3:00-4:00p.m. Easrtern
Through the NIDRR Funded Center on Effective Rehabilitation Technology (CERT) at the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, the Institute for Matching Person & Technology and AbleLink Technologies, Inc. have partnered to research the effectiveness of a cloud-based tool for identifying appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities. This system, the VRX System, is built upon previous National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education research and is designed to help vocational rehabilitation professionals find appropriate accommodations for their customers with disabilities. In this webinar Daniel K. Davies, MA, Founder and President of AbleLink Technologies, Inc., along with Marcia J. Scherer, PhD, MPH, FACRM, President of the Institute for Matching Person & Technology, will demonstrate the system and its features, discuss the current research activities underway to explore the utility of the system, and present an opportunity, through the CERT Project, for AT Program Directors and Staff to test drive the system. Register for this webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9214414680125982721. Live captioning will be provided during this webinar.

Recent Events

Webinar Series for AT Act Programs: AT & Employment
The RESNA Catalyst Project would like to thank Ron Hager, Diane Straube, and Jim Sheldon with Neighborhood Legal Services for presenting a six part AT & Employment series for all AT Act Programs. The last webinar in this series entitled Funding of Work-Related Assistive Technology through Medicaid and Medicaid, was held on February 18, 2015, 2p.m. Eastern Time. Over 300 separate online attendees combined participated in these webinars! An archive of all the webinars in this series can be found on the RESNA Catalyst Project website at http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/webedarchive.html.

STATEWIDE AT PROGRAMS


Announcements

Virginia Reuse Network Opens Newest F.R.E.E. of Williamsburg
As part of Virginia’s Reuse Network, the Foundation for Rehabilitation Equipment & Endowment’s (F.R.E.E) newest Chapter will be opening in March, 2015. The F.R.E.E. Foundation is a volunteer-led non-profit that provides mobility rehabilitation equipment to help people regain their mobility and independence. F.R.E.E. collects, sanitizes, repairs, and gifts donated mobility equipment to uninsured and underinsured adults in Virginia. To learn more about F.R.E.E., visit www.free-foundation.org. Congratulations!

Recent Events

Deaf Hard of Hearing Work Group-February 25, 2015
The RESNA Catalyst Project along with Laura Plummer, Project Director with Wisconsin Assistive Technology Program (WisTech), held the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Work Group on February 25, 2015. This past call featured a presentation from Jimmy Brown of the Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) Network on their Statewide Hearing Aid Assistance and Reuse Program (SHARP).
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. An email will go out to listservs once the archive of this webinar is posted on the RESNA Catalyst Project Website. In addition, look for more information soon on the next scheduled work group call.

Statewide AT Directors Forum – Tuesday, February 17, 2015
During this last Forum, RESNA Catalyst Project Director Joey Wallace facilitated a discussion focusing on disposition and reuse of AT devices purchased by Statewide AT Programs. In addition, Nebraska’s AT4ALL Program Coordinator, Lauren Rock, discussed Nebraska’s ReRUN Program.
The Statewide AT Directors 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. Look for more information soon on the next scheduled forum call. To view the Forum transcript and Lauren Rock’s resources, visit http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/teleconferences.html.

Upcoming Events

SGAT Program Directors Call: The Transfer of the AT Act-Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern
This upcoming call will feature information by Rob Groenendaal, Assistive Technology Program Manager, who will present on the transfer of the AT Act from the Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration to the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Community Living. This call will allow time for Directors to ask questions they may have about the transfer. All AT Act Directors are encouraged to join! To join the call, dial 800-351-6810, passcode: 46172076. Live captioning available at http://www.streamtext.net/player‌event=RESNA.

CATADA Winter Webinar- March 19, 2015, 4-5:00p.m. Eastern
The CATADA Team will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, March 19, 2015, from 4-5pm Eastern Time. During this webinar, CATADA staff member Vance Dhooge will present the newest information on NATADS application development. The webinar will be hosted using Adobe Connect. To join the webinar, visit: http://connectpro97884399.adobeconnect.com/r18pikr3s8v/. Audio for this webinar will be via telephone at 888-803-3311, and live captions will be provided.

PAAT PROGRAMS


Announcements

The Crime Victims Compensation Fund – A Little Know Funding Source for AT in Some Cases
AT advocates are always looking for unique sources of funding for AT and specialized equipment. This program, operated by each state through a federal grant, is authorized by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 10601. Programs are jointly funded by federal and state money. A few highlights:

  • Compensable crimes: Federal Act requires that state include injuries associated with domestic violence, driving while intoxicated, terrorism. State may expand this list.
  • Compensable expenses: Federal Act requires compensation for a range of expenses related to a physical injury, expenses related to “prosthetic or other devices” (undefined in federal law). Under federal VOCA guidelines, optional expenses include“[n]ecessary building modification and equipment to accommodate physical disabilities resulting from a compensable crime” (also undefined).
  • According to the National Association of Crime Victims Compensation Boards website, the average maximum compensation per case, allowed by states, is about $25,000.
  • Advocates may need to push for liberal interpretation of these guidelines. Your state may both expand on what is covered and provide more guidance on funding criteria.

See links for federal Office of Crime Victims site, http://ojp.gov/ovc/, and to state crime victims sites, http://www.nacvcb.org/index.asp‌sid=6. How would you find out that your client/consumer is a victim of a violent crime‌ Asking about how and when the individual was injured should be a routine part of an intake interview. It might lead you to Crime Victims funding or another source of funding, such as VA benefits, based on the source and/or timing of the injury.

SAVE THE DATES! June 1-4, 2015: The National Disability Rights Network Annual Meeting and Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana (details coming soon).

  • A detailed agenda and online registration will soon be available at http://ndrn.org/en/events/events-calendar/icalrepeat.detail/2015/06/01/84/-/2015-annual-conference.html.
  • 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.
  • NLS’s 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 - “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
    • Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - “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.
    • 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, Buffalo, NY.

Contact NLS!
NLS would love to hear from you concerning: any issues you are struggling with; any successes you have had (hearing decisions, court decisions always a welcome addition for our Resource Libraries); any state-specific policies that address the issues; and any materials you have found helpful that we might not have. Feel free to contact Ron (ron.hager@ndrn.org), Diana (dstraube@nls.org), or Jim (jsheldon@nls.org).

ALTERNATIVE FINANCING AND TELEWORK LOAN PROGRAMS


Announcements

Individual TA Calls with Loan Program Directors
The RESNA Catalyst Project, in conjunction with RSA, 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 – February 19, 2015
The last monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees was held on February 19, 2015. These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.

Loan Directors Open Forum Call – January 20, 2015
The RESNA Catalyst Project hosted an all Loan Program Directors to the Loan Program Directors Forum in January. 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. These calls are held every other month.

Upcoming Events

New Grantee Call – March 19, 2015, 4-5:00p.m. Eastern
The next monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees will be March 19, 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.

Loan Directors Open Forum Call – March 17th 3-4:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace will host an all Loan Program Directors Forum in March. 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 us by calling 1-800-211-4163 with pass code 57 48 484#.

OTHER RESOURCES

DRDC/NCBDDD 2015 Research Grant Opportunities
The Disability Research and Dissemination Center (DRDC), in coordination with the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the CDC, is pleased to announce the availability of THREE (3) NEW GRANT OPPORTUNITIES FOR 2015. The DRDC conducts research related to the priorities of the NCBDDD through research grant sub-contracts to universities and other academic and professional institutions that utilize medical, psychosocial, basic science, and public health approaches. Links to the grant opportunities are provided below:

  • RFA – R15 – 01: Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE) Impact on Parents
    Does exposure to LTSAE influence parents’ actions related to early identification of developmental delay‌
  • RFA – R15 – 02: Assessing Impact of EHDI
    Assessing impact of early identification and intervention on children with permanent congenital hearing loss
  • RFA – R15 – 03: Learn the Signs. Act Early (LTSAE) Book Testing
    Formative research/audience testing of innovative health education product

  • Process for Submission of RFA’s
    All research applications for the RFA’s must be submitted through the DRDC website. Please view the applicable instruction here: www.disabilityresearchcenter.com/research/application-instructions

NIDILRR/ACL Competitions
The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation as part of the Administration for Community Living, has announced the following competitions:

  • 84.133E-1, Individual Mobility and Manipulation. $925,000 for 60 months
  • 84.133E-3, Information and Communication Technologies Access. $925,000 for 60 months
  • 84.133E-5, Physical Access and Transportation. $925,000 for 60 months

For the full text please go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-02-17/html/2015-03122.htm

RESNA International Special Interest Group (SIG) Do-It-Yourself Contest
Deadline is April 1, 2015
Those with experience working or living in developing countries know that the assistive device needed is often not commercially available or affordable. As a step toward remedying this problem, the RESNA International SIG is sponsoring an assistive technology DIY (Do It Yourself!) contest. We are looking for innovative low-cost DIY assistive technology that could be replicated around the world. Whirlwind Wheelchair's generous donation will allow us to offer cash prizes including $300 for first place, $150 for second place, and $50 for third place! To learn more, visit http://www.resna.org/international-sig-do-it-yourself-contest.

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:
http://www.nmeda.com/professional-training/cams-hp/may-8-2015/
http://www.nmeda.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/camshp_flyer050815.pdf
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!

Yahoo Accessibility Team
Yahoo has created an Accessibility Team to understand and anticipate the specific obstacles that might confront an individual with a disability on the Web or with an app. The team then considers ways that these barriers can be overcome so that every individual, regardless of his or her limitations, can fully enjoy using Yahoo’s products. For more information on the team and their work, visit http://accessibility.yahoo.com, or email garymo@yahoo-inc.com.

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 Catalyst’s Online Calendar
The RESNA Catalyst Project’s 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.