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June 2013 Highlights

PROJECT WIDE NEWS


Announcements

RESNA Catalyst Project Listservs: SGATLIST@LIST.RESNA.ORG & AFPlist@yahoogroups.com
The RESNA Catalyst Project maintains two Listservs; one for the statewide AT programs and one for the AFPs. These Listservs are available for you to share information, ask questions to other programs, and start a dialogue about an AT topic. Please feel free to use these Listservs often and as needed. Please contact Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org if you are unsure of your subscription status or have questions.

Your AT Resources Needed
Does your AFP or statewide AT program have excellent resources that could benefit other programs? If so, please send them to the RESNA Catalyst Project! The Project is looking to highlight any and all of your resources on the RESNA Catalyst Project’s website at www.resnaprojects.org. Please email your AFP resources to Jason Luciano, jluciano@resna.org, or statewide AT program resources to Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org. Thank you!

Assistive Technology Program for D.C. - First Electronic Newsletter
Program Manager Alicia John posted the first electronic version of the Assistive Technology Program for the District of Columbia (ATPDC) newsletter. This first issue highlights news and information on AT making a difference, an AT device spotlight, and a posting from an ATDC Advisory Council Member. To receive and sign up for this newsletter, email ajohns@uls-dc.org. Congratulations Alicia and to ATDC!

Upcoming Events

Save the Date! August 21, 2013, 3:00-4:30p.m. Eastern: Accessibility of Web Information: Implications for how the Public and Private Sector Conducts Business
The RESNA Catalyst Project, Utah Assistive Technology Program, Southwest ADA Center, and ADA National Network will present a webinar on the accessibility of Web information. Look for more information via email on how to register for this webinar soon.

Recent Events

RESNA Catalyst Project Exhibits at this year’s RESNA Conference
Jason Luciano and Joey Wallace with the RESNA Catalyst Project exhibited at this year’s RESNA Conference held in Seattle, Washington on June 19-24, 2013. Approximately 500 assistive technology professionals came together at the conference to share their AT passion during the three days of workshops, plenary sessions, platform and poster sessions, and events. Jason and Joey provided an exhibit showcasing the Catalyst Project, what the AT Act Entities do, and provided contact information.

RESNA Catalyst Project Presents at M-Enabling Summit 2013
Paul Galonsky with the RESNA Catalyst Project presented at this year’s M-Enabling Summit held in Washington, DC on June 5-7, 2013. The presentation provided an explanation of what AT Act Entities do, as well as results taken from a survey of statewide AT Act programs to identify trends and practices in developing cooperation between AT programs and the mobile technology industry.

AT for Employment Work Group-June 27, 2013, 3-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time
The AT for Employment Work Group call provides opportunities for AT Act Entities to get briefed on national updates related to AT for Employment, as well as opportunities to share what is happening in your state. Next Work Group call: Thursday, August 29th, 2013 3p.m. Eastern Time.

STATEWIDE AT PROGRAMS


Upcoming Events

Save the Date! Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern: Distance Tools for Assistive Technology Demonstrations Webinar
Rob Groenendaal and Brain from RSA, Mystie Rail with Assistive Technology for Alaska, Maureen Melonis with the Assistive Technology Program of Colorado, and Peggy Shireley with the North Dakota Interagency Program for Assistive Technology will discuss creative strategies, examples, and challenges to providing distance demonstrations for AT in this upcoming webinar. Reserve your Webinar seat today at:
https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/320365007.

Recent Events

Grant Award Notification System/G5 Webinar - Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern
Rob Groenendaal and Brian Bard with RSA and Joey Wallace with the RESNA Catalyst Project hosted a webinar for statewide AT programs to discuss the Department of Education's G5 new grants management online system (www.g5.gov). Joey provided step by step instructions on how to validate ones signature on the GANS found on the G5 website. An archive of this webinar will be posted soon on the RESNA Catalyst Project’s website.

PAAT PROGRAMS


Announcements

Oral arguments calendared for week of August 5th in Koenning v. Janek, the Medicaid standing wheelchair case pending in Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

  • This case involves Texas Medicaid’s policy of categorically denying coverage of mobile standers (including standing wheelchairs), without consideration of medical necessity. The US District court held that this policy violates various federal Medicaid Act provisions and is preempted by the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. The State’s appeal is now pending.
  • As previously noted the briefs filed by plaintiffs and defendants, as well as two amicus curiae briefs are available on our National AT Advocacy Project’s website at www.nls.org/Disability/NationalAssistiveTechnologyProject/WhatsNew

Plaintiffs in Detgen v. Janek file motion in Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Motion to Vacate District Court Decision (denying funding for ceiling track lift) based on recent CMS policy clarification.

  • This case involves Texas Medicaid’s policy of categorically denying coverage of ceiling track lifts. The District Court held that since regional CMS guidance made clear that federal financial participation (FFP) would not be available for ceiling track lifts, Texas Medicaid could not be ordered to pay for them. Detgen v. Janek, ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2013 WL 961506 (March 13, 2013). The plaintiffs, represented by Maureen O’Connell of the Southern Disability Law Center, Austin, Texas, and Lew Golinker of the AT Law Center, Ithaca, NY, have appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • As reported the May Highlights, on May 21, 2013 the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a policy letter to Texas Medicaid on ceiling track lifts. The policy letter clarifies that ceiling track lifts are subject to FFP for Medicaid purposes (and, thus, considered a covered item) so long as the requested item meets the state definition of durable medical equipment and is medically necessary.
  • On May 28, 2013, plaintiffs filed a motion in the Fifth Circuit to vacate the lower court’s decision in light of the May 21st CMS letter to Texas. Texas Medicaid has opposed this motion and both parties have filed briefs in support of their positions. Contact Diana Straube (dstraube@nls.org) or Jim Sheldon (jsheldon@nls.org) if you would like copies of the briefs.

AT-Related Training Delivered at the National Disability Rights Network Conference, June 3-6, 2013, San Antonio, Texas
Handouts are available for each of the below sessions. Contact Diana Straube (dstraube@nls.org) or Jim Sheldon (jsheldon@nls.org) if you would like copies.

  • Preparation of a Medicaid Assistive Technology Case: From Fair Hearing to State Court Judicial Review (full day institute)
    Presenters: Diana M. Straube & James R. Sheldon, National AT Advocacy Project; Marge Gustas, NY PAAT Project; and Jennifer Giesen, Minnesota P&A; Project (the presentations were built around a case where funding is sought for an FES cycling machine).
  • A Simulated Interview and Simulated Case Review (using AT-related case scenario)
    Presenters: Diana M. Straube and James R. Sheldon, National AT Advocacy Project; Marge Gustas, NY PAAT Project; Edward Myers, Arizona Center for Disability Law; and Ron Hager, NDRN
  • Using AT to Promote Independent Living: Brainstorming on How to Fund It (session walked through scenario of young woman moving from ICF into an inherited ranch home)
    Presenters: Diana M. Straube and James R. Sheldon, National AT Advocacy Project; Edward Myers, Arizona Center for Disability Law

Now Available through the AT Resource Library (contact Diana Straube for copies, dstraube@nls.org):

  • Unreported Indiana state court decision, from 2010 awarding Medicaid waiver funding for a standing wheelchair. The court rejected the state’s arguments that 1) there is a lack of data supporting the use of standing wheelchairs, and 2) the Petitioner had to show that the state would deny coverage under traditional Medicaid. (NOTE: There are now three reported decisions and one unreported decision holding that traditional Medicaid is available to pay for standing wheelchairs, with the Koenning appeal soon to be argued in the Fifth Circuit.)
  • Three Medicare hearing decisions awarding funding for a standing wheelchair. (Funding of standing wheelchairs continues to be a focus of project.)

New or Updated Publications

  • Did You Know Series – new publication, State Alternative Financing Programs – A Source of Low-Cost Loans to Fund AT for Individuals with Disabilities. Look for this to appear shortly at http://www.nls.org/Disability/NationalAssistiveTechnologyProject/DidYouKnow.
  • Work, Assistive Technology, and State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies -- The VR Agency’s Obligation to Fund AT to Support Employment Preparation, by Ron Hager of the National Disability Rights Network, is now available at: http://www.nls.org/files/Disability%20Law%20Hotlines/National%20AT%20Advocacy/VRFundingofAT2013.pdf. This 44-page publication fully updates and replaces a similar publication done by Ron Hager in 1999 when he worked with Neighborhood Legal Service (Ron continues to work with us through the National Disability Rights Network with a focus on AT-related special education and vocational rehabilitation issues). This is part of our Funding of AT manual series (see www.nls.org/Disability/NationalAssistiveTechnologyProject/FundingofATManualSeries).

ALTERNATIVE FINANCING AND TELEWORK LOAN PROGRAMS


Announcements

Teleconference Series Schedule for 2013
You’ve spoken – and the RESNA Catalyst Project has listened! Based on your needs assessment and feedback you’ve given, the RESNA Catalyst Project has created a draft teleconference schedule for 2013. Subject to change:

  • July 16th, 2pm – Collaborating with other AT Act Programs
  • August 21st, 2pm – Needs Assessment for 2014

Upcoming Events

Teleconference: Collaborating with other AT Act Programs – July 16th 2:00pm Eastern.
Program representatives will discuss their collaborative efforts with statewide AT programs, Access to Telework loan programs, and other organizations funded under RSA activities. To join this call, please call 1-800-351-6810 with pass code 80573760#.

Data Collection Work Group: To be scheduled
The Data Collection Work Group will meet again in July to review and further develop the recommendations for the next round of changes to the RSA MIS. Once finalized, AFP representatives will have the opportunity to review and comment before the recommendations will be formally presented to RSA.

Purchasing Website Work Group: To be scheduled.
The Purchasing Work Group will finalize the development of the Purchasing Forums in which AT Act representatives will be able to share volume purchasing discounts and sale announcements. This forum will be made available for AT Act staff persons as indicated by the lead agency.

Recent Events

Teleconference: Multiple Approaches to Serving Client Needs Teleconference – June 27, 2013
Program representatives from PA and KY presented on their successes in providing wrap-around resources to clients and applicants to AFPs and other loan programs. Examples included highlighted the benefits of multiple funding streams to minimize hardship to those coming to us for assistance. This call was recorded and posted on the RESNA Catalyst website at: http://www.resnaprojects.org/documents/queries/AFPgetDocsByKeyword.php?org=AFP&keyword;=Other%20AT%20Funding%20Sources.

OTHER RESOURCES

Solicitation for AbleData Contract
A solicitation notice for a contract to maintain and update the AbleData database and website was posted to FedBizOpps.gov by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). NIDRR requires the services of a contractor to evaluate, update, and maintain information services to the public based on AbleData. AbleData is designed to provide information on aids and equipment used by persons with disabilities. Responses are due no later than 12pm EDT on July 5, 2013. Full text of the announcement for Solicitation ED-OSE-13-R-0015: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode;=form&id;=760dec0c0ac8073daef8c0509b7fb45e&tab;=core&_cview=1.

Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes - Book II - Ordinary Items, Extraordinary Solutions by Therese Willkomm, PhD, ATP
Assistive technology “MacGyver” Therese Willkomm, Ph.D., returns with her second book of five-minute, low-cost approaches for taking ordinary items and turning them into extraordinary solutions for individuals with disabilities. Picking up where the first book left off, AT Solutions in Minutes II demonstrates creative DIY problem solving without the need for power tools or electricity, empowering everyone to be spontaneous and create solutions to everyday challenges using everyday materials. You can order the book at http://www.iodbookstore.org/products/Assistive-Technology-Solutions-in-Minutes-II%3A-Ordinary-Items%2C-Extraordinary-Solutions.html. 100% of the proceeds will be used to purchase AT for New Hampshire Assistive Technology Device Loan and Demonstration Program provided by ATinNH.

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.


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.