August 2013 Highlights
PROJECT WIDE NEWS
Online Survey – 2014 Technical Assistance Needs Assessment
As in past years, the RESNA Catalyst
Project’s external evaluator is finalizing a brief needs assessment survey that
will go out to both Statewide AT and Alternative Financing Programs. Your opinion matters to us and we hope you
will take a few moments to complete the survey and tell us how we can better
serve you in 2014. Look for a link to
the survey in your email box soon.
RESNA Catalyst Project and ATIA Webinar Update
RESNA Catalyst Project and ATIA have partnered to provide live and archived
webinar seats to the AT Act Entities on a variety of topics of interest.
Due to popular demand we have successfully exhausted our allocated slots about
a month before the end of the agreement period. We will be offering the
same live and archived webinars beginning of October 1, 2013 for the coming
year. Thank you to everyone for your participation and interest.
SAVE THE DATE! 2014 AT Act Entities Meeting
The RESNA Catalyst
Project is pleased to announce that the annual AT Act Entities conference is
scheduled for July 14 & 15, 2014, in Washington, DC! Next years conference will be held at the JW
Marriott Hotel in Washington DC and will bring together all AT Act funded
programs to learn and share experiences, with an emphasis on collaborating
between programs as well as with external organizations. A work group consisting of representatives
from AFPs and Statewide AT Programs is working on developing agenda items. The RESNA Catalyst Project is pleased to
offer this annual technical assistance event in collaboration with ATAP. For more information please contact Joey
Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Webinar: Accessibility of
Web Information: Implications for how the Public and Private Sector Conducts
Business August 21, 2013
The RESNA Catalyst Project, Utah Assistive Technology Program, Southwest ADA
Center, and ADA National Network presented a webinar on the accessibility of
Web information. This webinar was
highly successful and attended by hundreds of participants nationally. An
archived recording of this webinar is now available at http://www.adaconferences.org/RESNA/Archives/.
AT for Employment Work Group Call-Thursday, August
The AT for
Employment Work Group call provides opportunities for participants 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 is scheduled for Thursday, October 17, 2013, 3p.m. Eastern
Statewide AT Programs, Vocational Rehabilitation, and AT Reuse
Several months back, the RESNA Catalyst Project along with RSA conducted a
brief online survey to learn more about how statewide AT programs are working
with their state VRs to promote AT reuse.
Many of you responded to the survey, and now along with RSA, the RESNA
Catalyst Project is scheduling focus groups via teleconference to dig deeper
into this important topic.
Please join us on the teleconference scheduled in
your time zone, or feel free to join another scheduled teleconference that
works best for you. RSA and the RESNA
Catalyst Project look forward to talking with you and learning more about
collaboration between statewide AT programs, VRs, and AT reuse.
number and pass code for all calls:
Pass code: 46172076#
- East Coast
Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Time: 3p.m. Eastern Time
States: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia,
Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New
Hampshire and, New Jersey
- East Coast Call Two
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Time: 3:00p.m. Eastern Time
States: New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Virgin
Islands and Puerto Rico
Date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Time: 3:00p.m. Central Time
States: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,
Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma,
South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin
Mountain Call & Pacific Calls
Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Time: 1:00p.m. Pacific Time
States: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico,
Utah, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii
Note: Some U.S. Territory statewide AT programs
not listed will be contacted individually.
Statewide AT Program New Directors
Webinar/Call- August 8, 2013
The New Directors call takes place every other
month. This webinar/call featured information on program management
found in the third module of the New Director’s Curriculum (http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/newdirectors/mod3progmgt.html).
The next New Directors call is scheduled for Thursday, October 10, 2013, 3p.m. Eastern Time.
AT Purchasing Discount Forum Tour Webinar- August 22, 2013
Purchasing Work Group finalized the online information sharing forum, and Jason
Luciano with the RESNA Catalyst Project presented the Discount Forum during
this webinar. This forum is designed to
allow representatives from statewide programs responsible for device purchases
to share information with each other in a confidential and easily-accessed
setting. This information can be about
group buys, discounts available, or even sharing coupons for particular vendors
or devices. Please log in and help out
your fellow programs! Information on
how to access the forum was presented during this webinar, and it is archived
on the RESNA Catalyst Project website at http://www.resnaprojects.org/statewide/webedarchive.html.
THE DATES! Upcoming Fall Teleconference Series (all sessions will be free
but pre-registration will be required).
Trainers include Diana Straube and Jim Sheldon, National AT Advocacy
Project, and Ron Hager, National Disability Rights Network:
October 23, 2013 –
“Funding of Cutting Edge Equipment through State Medicaid Programs”
November 20, 2013 - “Using Your State’s General
Curriculum Mandates to Fund AT in the Public School”
December 18, 2013 – “Funding of AT through State
Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies”
We are awaiting approval of an application for
continuing legal education (CLE) credits.
Contact Jim (email@example.com) or Diana (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register.
National AT Advocacy Project to Work with NCart to Deliver Training at
Their Spring 2014 Conference (Conference to Occur in Washington, D.C. area in
March or April 2014)
The National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab
Technology (NCart) is best described as a trade association comprised primarily
of equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
In addition to a range of other activities, NCart offers one or more
national training opportunities for its members each year. NCart has provided sponsorship support for
our past “Bridges to Better Advocacy” national conferences, and at our most
recent October 2012 conference, Don Clayback of NCart presented on policy
developments within Medicare. Having
decided we will not run our annual “Bridges” conference during the fall of 2013
or spring of 2014, we are looking to the NCart conference and the planned June
2014 National Disability Rights Network conference as two forums for delivering
extensive training related to funding of AT.
We hope to offer sessions at this event that will be a draw for PAAT
attorney/advocates and simultaneously be attractive to the NCart membership.
Koenning Standing Wheelchair Appeal
Dismissed as Moot (decision dated 8/20/13)
NLC previously reported on the Koenning v. Suehs litigation, filed on behalf of three plaintiffs,
challenging a Texas Medicaid policy that excluded standing wheelchairs (“mobile
standers”) from coverage for adults.
The policy resulted in automatic denials when Medicaid beneficiaries
sought the item through prior authorization, or when those denials were
appealed through the fair hearing system.
In September 2012, the district court ruled in favor of the three
plaintiffs holding that the state’s policy of categorically denying coverage of
mobile standers (including standing wheelchairs), without consideration of
medical necessity, violates the reasonable standards and amount, duration, and
scope provisions of the federal Medicaid Act and its implementing regulations,
and is preempted by the Supremacy Clause.
In so holding, the court specifically held that the state’s absolute
exclusion from coverage violated the terms of the 1998 CMS policy letter that
prohibits exclusive lists (referenced by the court as the “DeSario Letter”). Koenning v. Suehs, 897 F.Supp. 2d 528
(S.D. Texas 2012)
The lower court also found that the state’s requirement that hearing
officers apply agency policy at hearings violates the due process requirements
of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Medicaid Act. “[The agency] cannot unlawfully characterize mobile standers as
non-covered and then foreclose any further consideration of the coverage
questions, including the issue of medical necessity, in a hearing by requiring
that the same unlawful policy be followed.” 897 F.Supp 2d at 553. The court enjoined the state from enforcing
its categorical exclusion of mobile standers (including standing wheelchairs)
without regard to medical necessity, and remanded the issue of medical
necessity for each plaintiff to the agency for determination. Following the district court decision but
before arguments were heard at the Fifth Circuit, the Texas Medicaid agency,
through its agent, the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership (TMMP),
reconsidered the prior authorization requests for each of the plaintiffs. Following that process, TMMP approved the
standing wheelchairs for plaintiffs Koenning and Ryals. TMMP denied the application for plaintiff
Martin, finding a lack of medical necessity for the standing wheelchair,
leaving him with the right to appeal through the fair hearing system.
On August 20, 2013, the Fifth Circuit issued a four-page, unpublished per curiam opinion ruling that the case
is now moot. Koenning v. Janek, 2013 WL 4430365 (5th Cir.
8/20/13). The Court specifically held
that its disposition of the appeal “turns on events that occurred after the district court entered summary
judgment for the Plaintiffs” (i.e., the approval of standing wheelchair
requests for two plaintiffs and the decision and right to appeal for the third
plaintiff). Attorneys for plaintiffs and
defendant conceded that the case was moot as to the two plaintiffs who now have
their standing wheelchairs, but both sides urged the Court that the case was
not moot as to the third plaintiff.
Despite these arguments, the Court dismissed all of plaintiffs’ claims
as moot and vacated the district court’s order and judgment. Since the lower court’s decision remains on
the books as a reported decision and the Fifth Circuit never reached the
underlying merits of the case, attorneys may want to cite the district court
decision in the future as a well-reasoned statement of the Medicaid law as
relevant to durable medical equipment cases.
If you do cite it, here is the format we suggest: Koenning
v. Suehs, 897 F.Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. Texas 2012), decision and judgment vacated on other grounds, 2013 WL 4430365 (5th
Contact Jim (email@example.com) or Diana (firstname.lastname@example.org) for copies of
the most recent decision or any of the briefs filed in this case.
ALTERNATIVE FINANCING AND TELEWORK
Success Stories Wanted!
The RESNA Catalyst Project wants success
stories from your programs! We are in
process of developing new marketing and information materials, and want to
highlight all the successes your programs experience. Client stories and pictures are needed to make these as powerful
as possible. Please contact Jason Luciano
at email@example.com for more
Online Survey – Needs Assessment 2014 Recent Events
It’s hard to believe, but it’s the start of Fiscal Year 2014! The external evaluator for the RESNA
Catalyst Project is sending out an online survey as part of the annual Program
Needs Assessment. This will be a follow
up to the conference call held August 21, 2013. Please find a few minutes to respond, and help us ensure we
continue to provide quality technical assistance to all AT Act funded programs!
Teleconference: Needs Assessment –
August 21, 2013
This teleconference was a start to the yearly needs assessment
for all AT Act programs, and program representatives were able to participate
in a discussion shaping the technical assistance plan for FY 2014.
for Assistive Technology Education and Research’s (ICATER) New App
ICATER has just rolled out a new app
called the ICATER Toolkit, which is a great reference for Tips of the
Day as well as archived webinars directly from the app. The app also
contains links to contacting ICATER for questions and suggestions. To download this free app, visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/icater-toolkit/id686511315.
for Coverage” Opportunities with CMS
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has two new opportunities
for organizations to help make sure uninsured Americans take advantage of the
new Health Insurance Marketplace.
Please check out the “Partner with Us” tab at http://marketplace.cms.gov/. There you
will find information about becoming a “Champion for Coverage” – nationally or
in your state – and the myriad of ways to get involved. Also at http://marketplace.cms.gov/ you will
find information about how an organization qualifies and how to apply to become
a “Certified Application Counselor (CAC).” Resources and
educational materials that you can use are also available on this site.
has developed a new portal for individuals or small businesses to use to access
the “healthcare marketplace”. The site
also provides links directly to the Individual and Small Business Marketplaces
through the "Get Insurance"
tab. Enter your state on this page to
be directed to your state's Marketplace or the Marketplace that the federal government
has created for your state. The site also provides more information about
Marketplaces in general, answering questions like "Will I qualify for
lower costs on monthly premiums" and "What is the Health Insurance
Accessible Technology Coalition (ATC)
http://atcoalition.org/. The mission of the AT Coalition is to
develop a consumer driven, grassroots program that provides people with
disabilities, and those that work with them, accurate answers to their
technology questions allowing them to identify appropriate solutions -
particularly for those who do not have access to a local AT Center.
AT Radio & Podcasts in Indiana
has launched an internet
broadcasts 24/7 and includes a wide variety of AT programs.
Programs include INDATA’s two podcasts as well as various AT
and listen to the growing list of episodes, visit:
will include audio content from other AT projects.
submit radio content or to learn more about INDATA's AT radio and
podcasts contact Wade Wingler at firstname.lastname@example.org.