FFY2019 ABLE Tech Annual Report

FFY2019 ABLE Tech Annual Report

About Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Oklahoma ABLE Tech is the statewide Assistive Technology Act Program located at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. ABLE Tech is funded through the Administration for Community Living of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is made possible through the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 as amended in 2004 (ATA 2004).

Our Mission: To improve access to and acquisition of assistive technology (AT) for individuals with disabilities of all ages.

ABLE Tech provides AT through comprehensive statewide programs and services:
Device Demonstrations, Device Short-Term Loans, Device Reutilization, and State Financing Activities.

FFY 2019 Federal Investment: $456,538

Savings & Benefits for Oklahomans: $3,732,349


FFY 2019 Key Initiatives

Device Demonstrations

result in informed decision-making about which AT will and will not meet an individual’s disability needs and prevents wasted expenditures on ‘mismatched’ AT.  For example, if an agency/individual explores two electronic magnification devices and decides that one costing $2,000 is perfect – they have potentially saved another $2,000 by knowing the other device they explored would not meet their needs (avoided purchasing to only find the device was not a good match.)

14,094 individuals participated in 6,807 device demonstrations conducted by Oklahoma ABLE Tech in FFY 19.  Projecting a modest $100 savings realized by just half of the total demonstrations conducted results in a statewide saving of $340,350.

Device Short-Term Loans

result in informed and accurate AT purchasing decisions especially in unique contexts like a classroom or workplace.  When a school or employer can borrow a device and make sure it will allow the individual with a disability to be successful, they save money by avoiding ‘incorrect’ purchases.  Device short-term loans also allow individuals to remain functional while a device is being repaired, preventing costly loss of wages, lost school days, or the need for increased community living supports.

2,719 device short-term loans were made to individuals or agencies with 2,726 devices borrowed from Oklahoma ABLE Tech in FFY 19. 

2,397 loans were made for the purpose of helping individuals make a decision about AT. Using an average savings of $1,000 per loan with more than one device associated (at least one device was rejected as being a match and a second on was borrowed) results in statewide savings of over $1,198,500.

322 loans were made for the purpose of serving as a repair or while waiting for funding, to provide a short-term accommodation, and/or to conduct training, self-education or other professional development activity.

Device Reutilization

programs support the reuse and exchange of Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and AT that is no longer needed or used by its original owner. Recipients usually obtain equipment at a significantly lower cost or no cost. 

Reuse efforts include retrieval, refurbishment, repair, and the reassignment of DME. 1,383 individuals received 1,419 reused devices for total savings to Oklahomans of $488,028.

Exchange efforts include the transfer of AT devices from person to person. 1,151 individuals received 2,656 exchanged devices for total savings to Oklahomans of $304,476.

2,534 Oklahomans acquired 4,075 reutilized devices through Oklahoma ABLE Tech in FFY 19 for a total of $792,504. 

State Financing Activities

programs help individuals purchase/obtain AT through a variety of initiatives.

Financial loan programs provide Oklahomans with affordable, flexible borrowing options statewide. Through ABLE Tech’s alternative financing program in FFY 19, 273 borrowers obtained financial loans funding 273 devices totaling $1,281,304.

Other programs provide AT directly to individuals at no cost using dollars from non-AT Act sources or saved consumers money when purchasing AT. Through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded smoke alarm project, ABLE Tech partnered with the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) and Fire Protection Publications to professionally install smoke alarms and specialized alert devices in 433 households of Oklahomans who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or mobility impaired totaling 2,245 devices installed at a cost savings of $119,691.

706 Oklahomans acquired 2,518 devices through Oklahoma ABLE Tech state financing programs in FFY 19 for a total of $1,400,995.


 

Coordination & Collaboration

Special Education Resolution Center (SERC)

12 Special Education Due Process hearings were resolved by the Special Education Resolution Center - keeping state dollars in the classroom educating students. Due Process proceedings can cost the state an average of $300,000; therefore, resolved hearing requests saved Oklahomans approximately $3,600,000. 

SoonerCare Provider of Speech Generating Devices (SGDs)

Through an ongoing contract with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (Oklahoma’s Medicaid Agency), ABLE Tech is a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Provider vending iPads, communication apps, cases, and accessories to eligible SoonerCare members under the age of 21. During FFY19 ABLE Tech facilitated the acquisition of 37 iPads as SGDs to Oklahomans.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility

Through an ongoing Access for ALL contract with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), ABLE Tech partnered with the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development (OOWD) and 5 of 7 Oklahoma Workforce Boards to develop fully accessible websites to assist job seekers with disabilities in securing successful employment via the web. This initiative is a positive outcome of the Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

State Contracts

ABLE Tech maintains coordination and collaboration efforts that provide funding to help enhance the opportunities for individuals to access and acquire assistive technology.

  • Oklahoma State Department of Education
  • Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
  • Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation
  • Southwest ADA Center
  • Oklahoma Health Care Authority

 

Spotlight on Success

Device Demonstrations – Employment

Gail is employed at a call center that receives statewide calls for financial and disability-related resources. She started wearing hearing aids 6 months ago and was having difficulties with the phone headset interfering with her hearing aids, causing pain and discomfort. The pain and discomfort were limiting her ability to work a full dedicated shift at the call center. Gail consulted with ABLE Tech staff for a device demonstration; it was identified she could use a Bluetooth streamer pairing her hearing aids to her computer allowing her to receive calls directly into her hearing aids. She can now comfortably work her full shift.

Device Short-Term Loan – Education

Emma is a 13-year-old not able to attend her local public school and interact with her peers. Bartlesville Public Schools (BPS) borrowed the Double Robot from Oklahoma ABLE Tech to allow Emma to have access to the classroom and her peers while at home. The Double Robot enabled her to attend and participate fully in her core classes and receive live instruction. It has been so well received that BPS Foundation submitted a grant proposal to pilot a Robot for the next school year.

Device Reuse – Community

Free, gently-used durable medical equipment (DME) is available through a partnership with the state’s Assistive Technology Act Program, ABLE Tech, and the State Medicaid Agency, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA).

Isaac and his caregiver contacted ABLE Tech’s Device Reuse Program and were matched with a vehicle lift and a reclining wheelchair which he can use for as long as he needs.

Although the program is free for every Oklahoman to utilize, SoonerCare members receive DME from the Reuse Program as a priority above the general public. Isaac and his caregiver were very happy with these items as they relieve the caregiver’s back pain during transport and allow Isaac to enjoy community activities. “He’s very excited to be able to go out and loves to play in his swing and pool!”

 

Device Exchange – Community

Tracey had been falling frequently and having a difficult time walking. She contacted the ABLE Tech Reutilization Programs to request assistance and was able to receive a free quad cane. Without this program, she was not otherwise able to purchase one.

Tracey commented, “This will help me get up and keep my balance while walking. I will now be able to walk with my grandchildren in the park and increase my own level of walking, which is something I currently can’t do without a quad cane. Thank you!!!”

State Financing – Community

After back surgery, Jeff knew it was important to stay active and build strength. Jeff has a visual impairment and wanted a way to enjoy the outdoors with his wife, Shelley. Jeff reached out to the financial loan program offered by ABLE Tech through a partnership with Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation for financing options. Through this program, he was able to get a low-interest loan to purchase a recumbent tandem trike. Since purchasing the trike, Jeff and Shelley have what amounts to a new lifestyle. They use the trike for everything from running errands to trying out new restaurants.

Training – Education

Oklahoma ABLE Tech offers free Assistive Technology Team Workshops as a part of its collaboration with the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

The workshops cover the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) best practice processes of Consideration, Assessment, AT in the IEP, and Implementation of AT in the public schools. The following comments were made by some of the attendees:

“This training is a must for new Special Education Directors!”

“This is an awesome conference to help assist and navigate low to high-tech assistive technology!”

$456,538 federal investment in Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Close to 35,954 direct service recipients

Over $3.7 million in savings and benefits

That’s $5.75 for every federal dollar invested

Over $2.6 million in leveraged funding

That’s $4.50 leveraged for every federal dollar invested

Oklahoma ABLE Tech – Staff

Todd Misener, Chief Wellness Officer /Director,
OSU Department of Wellness

Linda Jaco, Associate Director, Sponsored Programs,
OSU Department of Wellness

Allyson Robinson, CCC-SLP, Assistant Director

Dawn Aaron, Administrative Assistant

Kimberly Berry, Assistive Technology Teacher

Rob Carr, ICT Program Manager

Melisa Cranfield, Reutilization Program Manager

Lisa Croston, Sponsored Programs Coordinator

Shannon Esmeyer, SERC Administrative Assistant

Shelley Gladden, Loan Coordinator

Tammie Honeyman, Grant Coordinator

Kelli Jones, Reutilization Grant Coordinator

Rob Keiter, SERC Grant Coordinator

Kimberly O’Meilia, Marketing & Communications Manager,
Accessible Formats Specialist

Jo Anne Blades, SERC Program Manager

Lyssa Prince, ICT Accessibility Coordinator

Natalie Rohwer, AFP Loan Coordinator

Shelby Sanders, Assistive Technology Specialist

Brian Sargent, Reutilization Site Coordinator

Amy Woods, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Oklahoma ABLE Tech – Partners

Alzheimer’s Association -
Oklahoma Chapter
Oklahoma City, 405.319.0780

The Children’s Center
Rehabilitation Hospital
Bethany, 405.789.6711

Handicapped Vehicle
Services Unlimited
Tulsa, 918.622.8400

Hearing Loss Association
of America, Central Ok Chapter
Oklahoma City, 405.717.9820

Indian Nations Council
of Governments
Tulsa, 918.579.9477

Kiamichi Economic
Development District
Wilburton, 918.465.2367

Moore Autism Center
Moore, 405.735.8478

NewView Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, 405.521.4880
Tulsa, 855.811.9699

OSU – Dept of Communication Sciences & Disorder
Stillwater, 405.744.6021

Pathways Therapy Center
Tulsa, 918.712.7868

The Scholl Center
Tulsa, 918.508.7601

SoonerStart Intervention Program
Oklahoma City, 405.271.8333

United Access (Mobility)
Oklahoma City, 888.939.1010