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May 2013 Highlights



RESNA’s Executive Director, Nell Bailey to Retire in August, 2013
Nell Bailey has announced her retirement as Executive Director of RESNA after 23 years with the organization, effective August 30, 2013. Nell joined RESNA in January 1990, to work on providing technical assistance to AT Act Entities. In 2007, she assumed the role of Executive Director for RESNA. The RESNA Catalyst Project Staff will miss deeply Nell’s leadership and presence. Thank you Nell for all your hard work and congratulations on your retirement!

Early Bird Deadline Extended to June 10 for RESNA 2013
Due to the late addition of new workshop sessions and speakers to the RESNA conference program, the early bird deadline has been extended to June 10. Covering almost all areas of assistive technology, the annual conference features over 40 workshops, internationally-known plenary speakers, a large exhibit hall, and plenty of opportunities to network, exchange ideas, and earn CEUs. One day of the conference overlaps with ICORR 2013, the International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics. To register, visit

AT Act Entities Directors Meeting and AT Employment Summit Receives Excellent Reviews!
The Statewide and AFP Directors Meeting as well as the AT for Employment Summit held May 6-9, 2013, in Bethesda, MD, was informative, exciting, and fun according to the many conferees who attended. All together, close to 120 individuals participated in the sessions over the course of four days. You can find PowerPoint presentations for most sessions on the RESNA Catalyst Project Website at The RESNA Catalyst Team extends a big thank you for all those who were able to attend and all those who worked with the Catalyst Team to plan for this event!

Catalyst Collaboration with the Center on Effective Rehabilitation Technology (CERT)
Catalyst is collaborating with CERT to survey statewide AT programs for interest in receiving a demonstration of the vRx System, which is a cloud-based service to support and assist a specialist in finding workplace accommodations for individuals with disabilities. The system employs a unique needs-based matching methodology that offers recommendations on the accommodations, devices, and strategies needed to overcome barriers to independent task performance. CERT is interested in the statewide AT programs’ feedback and interest in this developing resource. Contact Joey Wallace at if you are interested in participating.

Upcoming Events

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. To join this call, dial: 800-351-6810 Pass code: 46172076#. Reminders and call agenda to follow as we get closer to this call.

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, 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

AT for Employer/Business Web Portal Partners Call, May 20, 2013
AT Connects and the RESNA Catalyst Project hosted a quarterly call for Portal Partners on May 20th. The call included a briefing on the AT for Employment Summit, an introduction to the new blog on the Portal, wording revisions planned for the Portal, and marketing preparations. Portal Partners include the United States Business Leadership Network, Job Accommodation Network, and the ADA National Network. Two more calls are planned with the Partners for the remainder of 2013. Please visit the AT for Employer/Business Web Portal at


Upcoming 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 will host a webinar for statewide AT programs to discuss the Department of Education's G5, the new grants management system ( Participants will access and tour the G5, and be able to ask questions about how to utilize the system. Register for this webinar at:

Save the Date! Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 3:00-4:00p.m. Eastern: Distance Tools for Assistive Technology Demonstrations Webinar
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. Look for more information via email on how to register for this webinar soon.

Recent Events

Statewide AT Program New Directors Webinar/Call- May 23, 2013
The New Directors call takes place every other month. Under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 (AT Act), as amended, statewide AT programs must establish and maintain advisory councils to help plan, implement, and evaluate activities. This webinar/call featured information on advisory councils, found in the second module of the New Director’s Curriculum ( This call also allowed time for new directors to discuss issues they are currently facing. Next call for Statewide New Directors will be held on Thursday, August 8, 2013, 3p.m. Eastern time.



Texas Medicaid, that Medicaid Funding for Ceiling Track Lifts is Required When Item Meets State DME Definition and is Medically Necessary
Background: Texas Medicaid will not cover ceiling track lifts under its traditional Medicaid program. This exclusion was challenged in federal District Court (Detgen case) and the District Court upheld this exclusion based on an earlier communication with CMS suggesting that federal reimbursement was not available for ceiling track lifts. The District Court decision has been appealed and is now pending in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. On May 21, 2013, CMS issued a policy letter to the Texas Medicaid Director. In it CMS emphasizes:

  • That its September 4, 1998 policy letter (known as the “Desario Letter”; see requires that states must have a reasonable process for beneficiaries to request items of durable medical equipment (DME) that do not appear on a pre-approved list.
  • That, pursuant to that guidance, ceiling track lifts will be reimbursed by CMS as part of the Texas home health benefit if they meet the state’s definition of DME.
  • That any prior guidance on this subject is superseded by this policy letter.

Importantly, CMS points out in the letter that proposed regulations issued in July 2011 includes for the first time a federal definition of DME. The letter suggests that the regulations (which most advocates view as very positive) are likely to be published in the near future.

If you would like a copy of this policy letter (not currently available on CMS website) contact either Diana Straube ( or Jim Sheldon (

Please Share Any State Medicaid Policy that Authorizes Funding for the I-Pad as a Speech Generating Device; or Any Use of a Smart Phone to Serve a Medical Purpose
This has been a continuing discussion within the AT advocacy community and is intensified for us based on presentations at the recent Employment Summit in early May and discussions at another recent conference. We are now looking to gather as many positive policies as possible in which Medicaid agencies (or other third party insurers) are authorizing payment for I-Pads as speech generating devices. Please forward any information that you have to Jim Sheldon ( or Diana Straube ( We are also interested in hearing of any similar funding policies for using smart phones to serve a medical or quasi-medical purpose.

AT-Related Training Offered at the National Disability Rights Network Conference, June 3-6, 2013, San Antonio, Texas
For more information or to register for conference, see (referenced on page as NDRN Annual Meeting).

  • Preparation of a Medicaid Assistive Technology Case: From Fair Hearing to State Court Judicial Review (Monday, 6/3/13 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 will be built around a case where funding is sought for an FES cycling machine)
  • A Simulated Interview and Simulated Case Review (Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 3:30 to 5:00) – 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 (Thursday, June 6, 1:30 to 3:00)
    Presenters: Diana M. Straube and James R. Sheldon, National AT Advocacy Project; Edward Myers, Arizona Center for Disability Law
  • Handouts will be available for those who cannot attend.

Jim Sheldon Presents at AFP Directors Meeting On May 7th, Prior to Employment Summit, Bethesda, Maryland
Jim Sheldon of the National AT Advocacy Project joined Susan Tachau, Director of the Pennsylvania AFP for a session covering current legal issues facing Alternative Financing Programs. The session was built around questions posed by others in the AFP network. For a copy of Jim’s power point contact him at

Now Available through our AT Resource Library (contact Diana Straube for copies,

  • New CMS policy letter on ceiling track lifts (see summary above).
  • Medicare hearing decision awarding funding for a standing wheelchair. (Funding of standing wheelchairs continues to be a focus of project.)
  • Bibliography of journal articles and related materials to support medical benefits of FES cycling.
  • Briefs in the Koenning v. Janek Medicaid standing wheelchair case pending in US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Also available at .

New or Updated Publications
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 on our website: 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



Thank you to all who were able to attend the 2013 AFP Director Meeting!
We have received so much positive feedback it is pretty overwhelming. We at the RESNA Catalyst project are proud to have brought you this event, and look forward to being able to replicate it in the future.

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

  • June 27th 2pm – Multiple Approaches to Serving Client Needs
  • July 16th 2pm – Collaborating with other AT Act Programs
  • August 21st 2pm – Needs Assessment for 2014

Upcoming Events

Multiple Approaches to Serving Client Needs Teleconference – June 27th 2:00p.m. Eastern
Program representatives from PA and KY will be speaking on their successes in providing wrap-around resources to clients and applicants to AFPs and other loan programs. Examples will be included to highlight the benefit of multiple funding streams to minimize hardship to those coming to us for assistance. To join this call please call 1-800-351-6810 with pass code 80573760#.

Recent Events

Data Work Group Call – May 30th 12:00pm Eastern
The Data Work Group held its monthly meeting to discuss and develop recommendations for changes to the MIS 662 as guided at the conference in Bethesda on May 7th. To join this work group please contact Jason Luciano at


ICATER’s 2013 Assistive Technology Summer Learning Institute (several dates available)
The Assistive Technology Summer Institute is a unique summer learning opportunity that combines discussion of current relevant topics in AT with hands-on learning opportunities of some of the most recent and most commonly used AT software programs. You can learn more about the AT Summer Institute and register at:

Justice Department’s (DOJ) New Version of Website The DOJ announced the debut of the re-designed website through email and on social media: the first re-design of the ADA website since 2002, the Department of Justice has launched a redesigned ADA website The new design incorporates improved navigation and usability features making it easier to find information on ADA technical assistance, enforcement, and regulations. Visit today!

Center for Financial Independence & Innovation, Inc. (CFII) Seeking Executive Director
CFII is a nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities and their family members advance their financial independence and security. Founded in 2005, CFII provides services to more than 3,700 people annually. Application packages that contain the following will be considered: a cover letter, a resume, contact information for three references, and a salary history.

Please send your complete application package to:

Terri Theisen
Theisen Consulting LLC
Fax: 404-393-3527

AT Radio & Podcasts in Indiana
INDATA has launched an internet radio station. 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:
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

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:; Website: