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October 2015 Highlights

PROJECT WIDE NEWS


Announcements

RESNA Catalyst Project Needs Assessment for SGATs and AFPs
The annual Technical Assistance Needs Assessment for the RESNA Catalyst Project wrapped up during the last week of October. Thank you to all who were able to participate and share your ideas and suggestions. During the month of November, Catalyst will be meeting with an SGAT and AFP Sub Committees to finalize technical assistance deliverables for 2016. Keep your eyes on your inboxes for a copy of the RESNA Catalyst Project’s TA plan for the coming year. If you have any questions or additional feedback, please contact Jason Luciano, jluciano@resna.org or Paul Galonsky, pgalonsky@resna.org.

ACL’s Office of Grants Management (OGM) Obligation and Liquidation Deadlines
OGM will extend the obligation and liquidation deadlines in PMS as follows:

  • FY 2014 SGAT awards (90AG) - The deadline to obligate FY 2014 SGAT awards is September 30, 2016, and the deadline to liquidate the remainder of FY 2014 funds isDecember 30, 2016.
  • FY 2015 SGAT awards (90AG) - The deadline to obligate FY 2015 SGAT awards is September 30, 2016, and the deadline to liquidate the remainder of FY 2015 funds is December 30, 2016.

Please respond to Robert.Groenendaal@acl.hhs.gov for information about FY 2014 drawdowns in the PMS.

Submission of SF-425 forms to ACL
Last week, Rob Groenendaal reported that it has not yet been determined if the SF-425s for the ACL portion of your FY 2014 and/or FY 2015 State Grant for AT awards will be submitted as an attachment in Grant Solutions, or if ACL will wait for their version of the Management Information System (MIS) that will be available soon. If possible, please inform your financial offices that ACL is currently on standby with respect to the submission of SF-425 reports to ACL.

AT Program News: Reaching Seniors with Assistive Technology (Aging Part 2!)
AT Program News Editor Eliza Anderson, digs deeper into Assistive Technology and Aging in the latest issue of AT Program News. Read up on how Wisconsin, Maine, and Massachusetts Statewide AT Programs are working to serve their aging populations with assistive technology. You can view AT Program News online at http://atprogramnews.typepad.com/files/2015-october-reaching-seniors-with-assistive-technology-aging-part-2.html. AT Program News (ATPN) is a newsletter and blog created to serve the common mission of the State Assistive Technology Act Programs, the Alternative Financing Programs (AFPs), and their community partners.

Unlimited RESNA Catalyst Project/ATIA Webinars in 2016
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) and the RESNA Catalyst Project are pleased to announce the continuation of their partnership to offer live and archived webinars to all AT Act Entities. With RESNA Catalyst Project support, ALL AT Act Entities receive complimentary UNLIMITED access to ATIA webinars! Use access code CATUNL16. To learn more and sign up for all ATIA live and archived webinars, visit: http://atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4350.

Upcoming Events

Catalyst Webinars Scheduled for all AT Act Programs - Save the Dates
The RESNA Catalyst Project has been working to develop several webinars for FY 2016. First, the RESNA Catalyst Project, Neighborhood Legal Services, and the National Disabilities Rights Network will be conducting a webinar series beginning in November. Each of the webinars in this series will begin at 2p.m. EST, run for 90 minutes in length, will provide CART service, and offer CEUs. The following are save the dates and webinar titles:

Second, Tony Gentry, Associate Professor, Director, Assistive Technology for Cognition Laboratory, with Virginia Commonwealth University will be providing an update on Cognitive Aids for People with Brain Injury on February 17, 2016.

This webinar will begin at 3p.m. EST, run for 90 minutes in length, will provide CART service, and offer CEUs. Look for information on how to register for all webinars soon. In the meantime, save the dates today!

STATEWIDE AT PROGRAMS


Announcements

New Project Directors in Nebraska and North Dakota
Two new SGAT Directors include Tobias Orr with Nebraska’s Assistive Technology Partnership and John Vastag with North Dakota’s Interagency Program For Assistive Technology. Before coming over to Nebraska’s Assistive Technology Partnership, Tobias Orr was an Employment Counselor with Nebraska VR. While there, he worked with adults and transition aged students helping them overcome barriers and obtain employment. Since September, John Vastag, has been busy learning the ins and outs of North Dakota’s Interagency Program For Assistive Technology and working with the IPAT Board of Directors, Consumer Advisory Council, and staff. John is a seasoned leader in the healthcare field, along with work experience in supporting people with disabilities. On behalf of the RESNA Catalyst Project, welcome Tobias and John to the wonderful world of Assistive Technology Programs!

Wingler and Norton to Take on New Responsibilities with INDATA
Wade Wingler’s
position with the Indiana Assistive Technology Act Project (INDATA), has recently changed. Wade is now Vice President - Technology & Information Services for INDATA and will be responsible for their IT operations as well as AT operations. Over the next several months, Wade will be phasing leadership of the INDATA Project over to Brian Norton, who has over 20 years of AT experience. Wade will continue to keep day-to-day responsibility for parts of the program as well. Congratulations to both Wade and Brian!

Upcoming Events

CATADA Teleconference/Webinar: State AT Program Data Entry
Monday, November 9, 2016, 3 p.m. Eastern
This CATADA teleconference/webinar will provide information about a new data system that SGATs can access while ACL completes their version of the MIS application. No need to register prior to this webinar. To join the webinar on November 9, visit https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/996334077. To just listen without the visual of the webinar, call: 888-850-4523, and use passcode 532689#.

Webinar: Revisions to the Quality Indicators Manual for Device Loan
Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 3p.m. Eastern

This past September, MDTAP and the RESNA Catalyst Project convened a work group of Mid Atlantic AT Programs to work on updates and revisions to the 2010 Quality Indicator Manual for Device Loan. It is now time to share these revisions with all SGATs and allow for additional comments and revisions from all programs. This webinar is scheduled for November 10, 2015, 3p.m. EST. To register, visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6566372871507041537.

Recent Events

Webinar: How to Apply for a High Impact Innovative Quality of Life Grant
October 26, 2015
Hosted by the Christopher Reeve Foundation for Quality of Life, University of New Mexico Division of Disability and Health Policy Director, and the RESNA Catalyst Project, this webinar provided technical assistance to SGATs on the inaugural cycle of the High Impact Innovative Assistive Technology Grant Program (www.ChristopherReeve.org/HighImpactGrant). Up to five grants of $75,000 each will be awarded in January 2016 to SGATs, and the project duration is one year. An archive of this webinar can be viewed at: http://www.christopherreeve.org/site/c.mtKZKgMWKwG/b.8370711/k.93E6/Live_Better.htm?bcpid=1887544012001&bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAEJB7yw~,UEwM3sd9SA65khyJNJ62CJnnaT0YVK6D&bclid=1888684965001&bctid=4579373213001.

Deaf Hard of Hearing Work Group-October 28, 2015
Laura Plummer, Project Director with Wisconsin Assistive Technology Program (WisTech) facilited this Work Group on October 28th. Several updates included scheduling time for upcoming meetings, developing a hearing technology spreadsheet via Google Docs, and potential topics and speakers to present during each Work Group. The Work Group schedule for 2016 is as follows:

  • February 3, 2016, 3p.m. EST
  • May 4, 2016, 3p.m. EST
  • July 27, 2016, 3p.m. EST
  • October 26, 2016, 3p.m. EST

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.

PAAT PROGRAMS


Announcements

"A Quick and Easy Method of Screening for Medicaid Eligibility under the Pickle Amendment" (2016 Update)
Medicaid continues to be an important AT funding source for a very wide range of items. For this reason, it is important to keep abreast of the many little-known ways to establish or keep Medicaid eligibility. One of those ways is through the Pickle Amendment. Every year, Gordon Bonnyman of the Tennessee Justice Center updates his two-page screening document. See 2016 update at: http://www.healthlaw.org/component/jsfsubmit/showAttachment?tmpl=raw&id=00Pd000000Ny2WLEAZ .

Medicare Part B Premiums – Will Budget Deal Avoid Expected 52 Percent Increase?
Medicare is also an important AT funding source for a range of durable medical equipment (DME). While generally not as good a funding option as Medicaid, it can fund many things. In fact, earlier this year we reported on positive changes in the way Medicare funds speech generating devices. Over the past few months, the news has been that Medicare Part B premiums (Part B funds DME) were set to go up by 52 percent for as many as one third of Medicare beneficiaries, including some that get Medicare based on eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). That could drive monthly premiums from 2015 levels of $104.90 to nearly $160. The fear was that this might force individuals to drop the optional Part B coverage or keep it and have to grapple with these extra expenses at a time when no cost of living increases will occur in SSDI in 2016.
Early reports are that the budget deal struck in Washington in late October, if passed in both the House and Senate and signed by the President, will eliminate the projected big increase in Part B premiums. While most of the media reporting focuses on retiree healthcare costs, a very significant number of younger, SSDI beneficiaries could be hurt if the projected increase in premiums was to become a reality. If Medicare is their only form of health insurance they may depend on it to fund AT.
Keep in mind that individuals with limited income may qualify for one of three Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) that require the state Medicaid agency to pay their Part B premiums. If they qualify for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program, premiums, copayments, and deductibles are covered. This means that a $2,000 copayment on an expensive wheelchair could be covered. For more information on MSPs see http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-info/medicare-savings-programs/ or http://www.nls.org/files/At%20a%20Glance%20Advocate%20Info%20Sheets/Medicare%20Savings%20Programs%202015%20Final.pdf.

ALTERNATIVE FINANCING AND TELEWORK LOAN PROGRAMS


Announcements

Revisions to AFP Contact Sheets
By now program directors should have received a request for updates to program contact information. If you have not yet responded with updated information, please do so soon so we can continue to provide accurate information. Thank you!

Recent Events

New Grantee Call – October 15, 2015
The last monthly call bringing together the new AFP grantees was held October 15, 2015, 4:00 p.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 – October 20, 2015
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace hosted an all Loan Program Directors Forum in October. This call had fantastic representation from around the world, including our friends in the U.S. Territories! We appreciate everyone’s participation and the active discussion from so many programs. Thank you to all who called in, and we look forward to talking with you again next month.

Upcoming Events

Loan Directors Open Forum Call – November 17th 3-4:00p.m. Eastern
RESNA Catalyst Project Director, Joey Wallace will host an all Loan Program Directors Forum in November. This call will focus on issues of concern and interest for all loan programs, and everyone benefits from the active participation programs bring to the discussion. Please join us by calling 1-800-211-4163, with pass code 57 48 484#.

New Loan Director Series – November 18th 3-4:00pm Eastern
The RESNA Catalyst Project will start the New Loan Directors series on November 18th at 3:00pm eastern. This series will involve discussions and presentations on topics of interest as identified by invited participants. If you have an interest in participating, please contact Jason Luciano at jluciano@resna.org.

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

OTHER RESOURCES

PEAT Talk on Biz Ability - November 19, 2015, 2– 2:30 p.m. Eastern
Join PEAT for the November edition of their virtual speaker series, PEAT Talks on Thursday, November 19 from 2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET. This month PEAT welcomes Ted Drake, Principal Engineer at Intuit. Ted will be talking about Biz Ability, a community-driven resource for business owners with disabilities and entrepreneurs to find the accessible tools they need to build and run their business effectively. To register for this webinar, visit: http://peatworks.org/content/webinars/2015/11/BizAbility.

Free Online Message Banking Tool
MessageBanking.com enables an individual to record and save messages in their own voice. These recordings can later be imported into a Speech Generating Device (SGD) or several tablet communication apps, providing a more personal communication experience. To learn more, visit www.messagebanking.com.

Wheelchair Van Assistance Program - Special Kids Fund
Special Kids fund is a nationwide program, which receives donated adapted vehicles and distributes them to needy individuals and families. This service provides a wonderful legacy for the donor, as well as the best IRS tax deduction for a vehicle donation, since the vans are not sold, but are instead transferred to a needy recipient. Special Kids Fund will also take older and higher mileage vehicles, as long as they are in good running condition. If you know of someone who has a van to donate or needs one, please visit www.specialkidsfund.org/wheelchair to learn more.

Companies Collaborate to Create Accessible Job Board
September 15, 2015 - Three companies, Chief People Officer, Linkages Work Together and AudioEye, entered an agreement to design a job board to accommodate people with disabilities in their search for jobs, and to help companies with Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. The job board can be used by, and is targeted towards people with disabilities, veterans, wounded warriors, and elderly people. The goal of this project is to ensure all qualified people with disabilities are able to find opportunities for employment. According to the press release, job boards have been hard to navigate, but with this new job board people with disabilities will be able to use several of their assistive technologies to make applying for jobs much easier.

Enable Makeathon
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its partners are inviting persons with disabilities, designers, engineers, humanitarians and entrepreneurs to join forces in the ‘Enable Makeathon’ and develop affordable assistive devices for persons with disabilities living in rural areas. To learn more visit: http://www.enablemakeathon.org/.

College Resources for Students with Disabilities
Affordable Colleges Online recently updated their College Resources for Students with Disabilities guidebook. The guidebook is available at: http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/resources-for-students-with-disabilities/.

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 atwww.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 Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (ACL/HHS) 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.