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March 2014 Highlights

PROJECT WIDE NEWS


Announcements

Registration Now Open! National AT Act Entities Conference
July 14 and 15, 2014
This year’s National AT Act Entities Conference will be held July 14 - 15, 2014, at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC. The Conference is being co-hosted by the Association of AT Act Programs, CATADA and the RESNA Catalyst Project. This Conference is specially designed for AT Act Program Directors and staff, and will include current information on topics developed by the Statewide and AFP conference planning committees. The two day conference will feature combined Statewide AT Program and AFP general sessions, and specific concurrent sessions. All attendees are encouraged to attend any session of interest. A networking reception is also scheduled for Monday evening. All participants must register at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-national-at-act-entities-conference-registration-10169133151‌utm_campaign=new_eventv2&utm;_medium=email&utm;_source=eb_email&utm;_term=eventurl_text.

RESNA Catalyst Project and ATIA Update
The RESNA Catalyst Project in partnership with ATIA has purchased webinar seats for use over the year beginning in October. Due to high interest and demand these seats are likely to be exhausted by April. Thanks to everyone for your participation. Seats can be purchased directly from ATIA at www.atia.org.

Farewell to AT Act Program Staff
Kathleen Powers, Program Director with the Maine Consumer Information and Technology Training Exchange (CITE), and Annette M. Lauber, Funding Specialist with the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program (NCATP), will both be retiring in April. For 37 years, Kathleen has been with the University of Maine System and Maine CITE's Program Director since 1989. Annette has been with working for NCATP for close to 20 years! On behalf of RSA, the RESNA Catalyst Project, and all AT Act Programs, congratulations Kathleen and Annette on your retirement, and thank you for your contribution to bettering the lives of people living with disability through the use of assistive technology. You will be missed!

Recent Events

AT & Education Work Group Call-March 20, 2014
Since late 2013, the RESNA Catalyst Project along with statewide AT program representatives and external partners have been developing an AT & Education initiative. The initiative is intended to provide AT resources and marketing of AT Act programs to consumers as well as specific technical assistance to statewide AT programs. If you have an interest in being a part of this work group, please contact Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org. Look for more information throughout 2014!

AT for Employer/Business Web Portal Partners Call, March 26, 2014
The RESNA Catalyst Project hosted a quarterly call for Portal Partners on March 26th. The call included a briefing and updates found on the AT for Employment Web Portal. Partners will continue to meet quarterly in 2014. Portal Partners include the United States Business Leadership Network, Job Accommodation Network, and the ADA National Network. Please visit the AT for Employer/Business Web Portal at www.ATConnects.com/employers.

AT for Employment Work Group Call- March 27, 2014
The AT for Employment Work Group call provides opportunities for AT Act program participants to get briefed on national updates related to AT for Employment, as well as opportunities to share what is happening in each state. The next AT for Employment Work Group call is scheduled for May 29, 2014.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinar April 23, 2014, 3p.m. Eastern: Accessing Services, Programs, and Activities Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Florida State Courts with the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST)
More details including registration link to follow!
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 of technology and its interface with issues covered under the ADA. Each webinar is 90 minutes in length and provided free to interested persons. Continuing education credits are available through RESNA.

STATEWIDE AT PROGRAMS


Recent Events

Webinar: CATADA Federal Data Collection-March 5, 2014
On Wednesday March 5th, the Center for Assistive Technology Act Data Assistance (CATADA) hosted an informational webinar on recent updates to Federal Data Collection. If you were not able to attend, you can view a video recording (which includes audio and live captions) by going to http://connectpro97884399.adobeconnect.com/p3dzbvok07u/. This recording is also available at http://www.catada.info/materials.

Statewide AT Program New Directors Webinar/Call-March 13, 2014
Under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (AT Act), as amended, Statewide AT Act Programs must report data on state-level and state leadership activities for completing the State Grant for AT Program Annual Report. Program data can also be used to analyze program performance and plan program activities. This webinar/call featured information on statewide AT program data requirements found in the sixth module of the New Director’s Curriculum (http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/newdirectors/mod6data.html). Diane Cordry Golden, Ph.D. with the Center for Assistive Technology Act Data Assistance (CATADA) and the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) was on hand to provide talking points and answer data questions.

Upcoming Events

Statewide AT Directors Forum-April 1, 2014, 3p.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 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 Joey during this call on April 1st. Forums calls occur monthly. If you have accessibility requests or have any questions, please contact Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org. Forum call-in number: 800-351-6810 Passcode: 46172076#.

PAAT PROGRAMS


Announcements

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! National Disability Rights Network Annual Meeting and Conference, June 2-5, 2014 (Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 700 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21212)
Go to the following site to register for the conference and obtain hotel specifics: http://ndrn.org/en/events/events-calendar/icalrepeat.detail/2014/06/02/57/-/2014-ndrn-paacap-annual-meeting.html. As this is prepared, the site is still being populated and a full agenda should appear on the site shortly. For those reading this shortly after posting, the early bird registration deadline, originally set at March 24th, has now been extended through March 31st. The National AT Advocacy Project will have a significant presence at the conference, presenting/co-presenting a full-day institute and four 90-minute sessions. As NLS prepares for these sessions, they 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. Confirmed lineup of AT-related sessions for the NDRN conference, with confirmed speakers in most cases:

  • Monday, June 2, 2014 (a full-day institute) - “Preparation of a Medicaid Assistive Technology Case: From Fair Hearing to State Court Judicial Review” (using standing wheelchair as item sought; will have equipment demos during session).
  • Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - “What Equipment does for the Individual and How We Get It Funded” (will have four equipment demos: a vertical lift wheelchair, alternative drive systems for power wheelchairs, a complex shower chair, and an adaptive tricycle).
  • Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - “Legal Issues Related to Equipment Requests through Medicaid Waivers and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations”.
  • Thursday, June 5, 2014 - “Using Smart Phones and PDAs to Promote Integrated Employment.”
  • Thursday, June 5, 2014 - “Using Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Guidance in Medicaid Equipment Cases.” Speakers: Diana Straube and Jim Sheldon.

March 11th Fair Hearing Decision Awards Medicaid Funding for Permobil C500 Wheelchair
This case involves a 16 year old boy with cerebral palsy who sought this wheelchair with stand and drive feature, power tilt and recline, power seat elevation, power elevating leg rests, and multiple accessories. New York’s Medicaid prior approval unit denied the item, claiming the documentation failed to establish that the wheelchair requested was medically necessary and the least costly alternative to meet this individual’s needs. In this 11-page decision, the many benefits of standing are emphasized as spelled out in the letters of justification from the treating physician and treating physical therapist. Congratulations to Marge Gustas, Staff Paralegal with New York’s PAAT Project at Neighborhood Legal Services, for a job well done. If you would like a copy of the decision contact Diana Straube (dstraube@nls.org) at the National AT Advocacy Project. If you would like to speak to Marge about her approach to preparing for this hearing, contact her at mgustas@nls.org.

Highlights from the Courts: Oral Arguments Occur in Detgen v. Janek-
Fifth Circuit to decide if Texas Medicaid Program Can Exclude Coverage of Ceiling Track Lifts
On March 10, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard arguments in the plaintiff’s appeal of a federal District Court decision. The lower 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, 945 F.Supp.2d 746 (N.D. Texas 2013). We can expect a decision in the upcoming months. As reported in previous Highlights, 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 appeal, the plaintiff’s attorneys have argued that this CMS policy letter undermines the rationale behind the lower court’s decision. The plaintiffs are represented by Maureen O’Connell of the Southern Disability Law Center, Austin, Texas, and Lew Golinker of the AT Law Center, Ithaca, NY. Contact Diana Straube (dstraube@nls.org) or Jim Sheldon (jsheldon@nls.org) at the National AT Advocacy Project if you would like copies of the briefs filed in support of this appeal.

Registration Now Open! NCART Conference Scheduled April 29 - May 1, 2014, Arlington, VA
The National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology will hold this three-day event at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (“National CRT Leadership and Advocacy Conference”). See http://ncart.us/articles/2014-crt-conference-registration-is-open for more information and registration links. NLS is in communication with NCART about a discounted registration rate for PAAT staff wishing to attend the conference. For now, contact Jim Sheldon (jsheldon@nls.org) if interested and he can provide details and a process for securing a discounted rate.

ALTERNATIVE FINANCING AND TELEWORK LOAN PROGRAMS


Announcements

New Directors of Loan Programs-Last Thursday of each month, 2:00p.m. Eastern
The New Directors of Loan Programs series started in January, and are held on the last Thursday of each month. The remaining topic schedule is:

  • Sustainability and Fundraising
  • Financial Literacy and Credit Building
  • Dealing with Defaults
  • Working with Boards

If you are interested in joining these webinars please contact Jason at jluciano@resna.org.

Recent Events

New Grantee Call - March 20, 2014
The last monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees was held March 20, 2014. These calls are for those programs receiving funding under the recent competitions to discuss unique opportunities and challenges presented to new AFP grantees.

New Directors of Loan Programs March 27, 2014
The third in the series of New Directors of Loan Programs webinars was held March 27th at 2:00pm Eastern. This presentation will focus on Marketing Strategies and spreading the word about your program. Marilyn Hammond and Storee Powell from Utah spoke to their marketing strategies. This webinar was recorded and is on the RESNA Catalyst website at http://resnaprojects.org/documents/queries/AFPgetDocsByKeyword.php‌org=AFP&keyword;=Marketing.

Upcoming Events

New Grantee Call-April 17, 2014, 4:00p.m Eastern
The next monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees will be held April 17th at 4:00pm 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 - April 22, 2014, 3:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace invites all Loan Program Directors to a new Loan Program Directors Forum. Much like the successful forums for Statewide Program Directors, 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 Joey during this call on April 22, at 800-211-4163, Passcode: 5748484#. If you have accessibility requests or have any questions, please contact Jason Luciano, jluciano@resna.org.

New Directors of Loan Programs - April 24, 2014, 2:00p.m. Eastern
The third in the series of New Directors of Loan Programs webinars will be held April 24th at 2:00p.m. Eastern. This presentation will focus on Sustainability Strategies and Fundraising for your program.

OTHER RESOURCES

Update on the U.S. Access Board's Refresh of the Section 508 Standards and Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines
The U.S. Access Board is in the process of jointly updating its Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology and its Telecommunications Act (Section 255) Accessibility Guidelines. On February 23, the Board submitted a proposed rule to update these standards and guidelines to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. OMB has 90 days to review the rule under Executive Order 12866. Once cleared by OMB, the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register and will be available for public comment for a specified period of time. Further information on this rulemaking is available on the Board's website.

U.S. Access Board Webinar: Section 508 "Trusted Tester Program" April 3, 2014
The next webinar in the Access Board's free monthly series will take place April 3, 2014, from 2:30- 4:00p.m. Eastern, and will cover evaluation and testing for compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires access to electronic and information technology in the federal sector. Federal agencies are responsible for accurately evaluating information and communication technology, including web and software applications, for Section 508 compliance. This webinar will review the standards-based approach to Section 508 evaluation and testing implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It will also cover DHS's "Trusted Tester" concept and how to implement reliable and repeatable Section 508 testing across agencies. For more information, including registration instructions, visit www.accessibilityonline.org.

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 INDATAs 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.

New Tremor Cancelling Device
Lift Labs has developed new tremor cancelling technology that works in a way that is similar to that used in cars to provide a smooth ride - it converts the vibration from the tremor to achieve an approximately 70% reduction in tremor movement from handle to utensil attachment. You can review the product videos on Lift Labs website, www.liftlabsdesign.com.

Follow the RESNA Catalyst Project on Twitter! @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.