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8.22 ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY DEVICES

When to Provide Assistive Devices

Assistive devices may only be provided in Status 10 or above, and only after an evaluation and recommendation from an appropriate professional.

Although it is unusual to provide assistive devices in Status 10, it is recognized that devices may sometimes be needed to conduct an assessment for the purpose of developing an IPE.

Economic Need

Assistive devices provided to support diagnostic services, including extended evaluation are not based on the consumer's economic need status.

Assistive devices provided in conjunction with rehabilitation teaching and orientation and mobility services are not based on the consumer's economic need status.

The provision of all other assistive devices is based on the consumer's economic need status.

Conventional Assistive Equipment

An evaluation or training report indicating the need for equipment can serve as the recommendation for conventional assistive equipment. Conventional assistive equipment refers to those aids, appliances and devices that assist individuals who are blind to perform certain functions or activities, but which are not micro-computer based, and are not considered specialized equipment or physical restoration devices. Examples of conventional assistive equipment include:

1. braille writer

2. white cane

3. lock-lid sauce pan

4. slate and stylus

5. talking clock

6. tape recorder

Note

Low vision aids and hearing aids are not considered assistive equipment. They are considered physical restoration devices.

High-Tech Equipment

Due to the cost and complexity of high-tech equipment, it is necessary to follow special procedures for the purchase of any micro-computer related equipment which is purchased as part of an assistive equipment configuration. Computers, printers, modems, monitors, network interface cards, sound cards, application software programs, operating system software, and other generic types of computer hardware and software fall into this category as well as the following specialized assistive technologies:

1. computerized braille displays which convert screen text to braille

2. portable computerized braille note-takers

3. screen enlarging software or hardware

4. speech synthesis software or hardware

5. closed circuit television (CCTV)

6. screen reading software packages

7. one-handed keyboards or specialized input devices

Braille Note-takers

A portable computerized braille note-taker may be purchased upon the recommendation of a rehabilitation teacher. It is not necessary to obtain a consumer assessment at an ATC in order to purchase such a device.

Rule, Homemakers

High-tech equipment will not be purchased for consumers with the goal of homemaker.

Case Documentation

Using information from the evaluation, the counselor must document the following in the record of services:

1. why the consumer needs the equipment to participate in the rehabilitation process and obtain employment consistent with his or her IPE goal, and

2. that the equipment is being purchased after an evaluation and recommendation from an appropriate professional.

Procedure High-Tech Equipment

Counselors should follow the procedure on pages 8.22.06 - 8.22.07 to request approval to purchase high-tech equipment.

Purchasing Equipment

Purchase requests for conventional assistive equipment will be sent directly to the Office of Children and Families (OCFS) Purchasing Unit. Conventional assistive equipment under $750 can be purchased directly from a provider using the 335 process.

All requests to purchase microcomputer-based, specialized assistive equipment and/or microcomputer software must be sent to central office to the attention of the technology coordinator.

Ownership of Equipment - Policy

All equipment provided to consumers by NYSCB remains the property of NYSCB until successful case closure. Consumers are responsible for the proper care and use of equipment provided to them.

Ownership of Equipment - Notifying Consumers

Consumers will be advised that NYSCB maintains ownership of equipment until successful case closure by a statement on the "Consumer Rights and Responsibilities" handout.

Consumers will be advised that ownership of equipment is transferred to them at successful case closure by a statement on all case closure amendments and letters.

Maintenance and Insurance

Maintenance and insurance of equipment will be paid as follows:

NYSCB is responsible for maintenance and insurance of its own equipment.

If the equipment is owned by the consumer:

1. NYSCB will not be responsible for maintenance and insurance

2. the consumer's employer should be encouraged to pay for maintenance and insurance.

Maintenance Agreements

When equipment used by a consumer belongs to NYSCB, the counselor should consider purchasing a one year maintenance agreement at the end of the warranty period. A maintenance agreement is especially recommended for braille printers.

Insurance

Equipment which is owned by NYSCB can be insured through a consumer's homeowner's or renter's policy or through a training site or employee's insurance policy.

Loaning Equipment

Equipment which is stocked in the district offices or NYSCB central office may be loaned to consumers when needed for evaluation, training or placement. Loaned equipment must be returned to NYSCB.

Documentation

When loaning equipment, the counselor will:

1. have the consumer complete an Equipment Record form (pages 8.22.08 8.22.09)

2. document the loan in the case record.

Replacing Equipment

Equipment which is used by a consumer (prior to transfer of ownership) will be replaced if lost or damaged through theft, fire, flood, vandalism or other acts or occurrences beyond the control of the consumer when:

1. an insurance report or police affidavit, if available, is submitted to the counselor documenting the loss, and

2. after a review of the documentation and other circumstances surrounding the loss, the counselor and senior counselor determine that the loss has occurred under circumstances permitting replacement of the equipment.

If the equipment is covered by an insurance policy, NYSCB will only cover the amount of the individual's deductible.

Once ownership is transferred to a consumer, the risk of loss or damage rests upon the consumer.

Rule

Equipment which is owned by NYSCB cannot be sold.

Leasing

The decision to lease equipment will be made on a case by case basis, by the District Manager.

Equipment for Groups of Individuals

Equipment may be provided to an agency, college or other organization when the equipment is for use by at least two NYSCB consumers. Individuals who are not NYSCB consumers may also make use of the equipment, provided that the NYSCB consumers are afforded the amount of time needed to use the equipment.

Prior to providing this equipment, NYSCB staff should encourage the organization to provide accommodations to individuals with disabilities as part of its responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Equipment provided for groups of individuals is owned by NYSCB. NYSCB will pay the cost of maintenance on the equipment. However, the agency, college or organization holding the equipment is required to have the equipment insured.

Equipment Inventory

Each district office will maintain an inventory of stock equipment. Information to be included in the inventory is:

1. equipment on hand

2. disposition of equipment

3. equipment added to stock

Copies of the inventory should be sent quarterly to the Technology Coordinator at

Central Office.

Equipment Record

The Equipment Record (pages 8.22.08 - 8.22.09) records the provision and disposition of equipment on a case-by-case basis. It must be completed each time equipment is:

1. loaned to a consumer

2. replaced

In addition, the section labeled disposition should be completed when equipment is returned to NYSCB.

Procedure for Purchase of High-tech Equipment

Follow this procedure to request approval to purchase high-tech equipment:

1. Complete the DSS-1013 form with the exception of the following sections:

a. TO: (VENDOR)

b. Item No., Description, Quantity, Unit, Price, and Amount

c. District Manager approval.

2. Prepare a cover memo to the C.O. technology coordinator authorizing purchase of equipment. The memo should note the appropriate consumer account code to be entered on the DSS-1013.

3. Forward the cover memo, along with the following, to the technology coordinator:

a. partially completed DSS-1013 and

b. for microcomputer based equipment, copies of the:

1. Assistive Technology Referral Sheet

2. Equipment Recommendation

3. Specific installation notes or instructions

4. Job/education site evaluation report (if applicable)

5. Assistive Technology Assessment Report

c. for specialized equipment, a copy of the evaluator's report.

4. The technology coordinator will:

a. review the material,

b. discuss the report with the provider and, if necessary, the counselor,

c. determine the appropriateness of the request, and if necessary make changes and advise the counselor of the changes

d. assign a purchase request #

e. sign off on the DSS-1013 and forward it to OCFS Purchasing,

f. return a copy of the completed DSS-1013, with a buck slip indicating any changes made, to the district office.

5. The district office will then:

a. enter the DSS-1013 information into the automated log

b. file the DSS-1013 in the consumer's record of service, and

c. file the DSS-1013 in the authorization file in authorization # order.

If the equipment is shipped to an ATC, the center will confirm that the order is complete and notify the NYSCB C.O. calculations clerk, who will in turn notify accounts payable to release payment to the vendor. Vendors do not get paid until receipt of equipment is acknowledged.

7. If the equipment is shipped to the consumer at a location other than an ATC, the consumer should be instructed to confirm the order is complete and notify the counselor. The counselor will notify the NYSCB C.O. calculations clerk.