2003 Conference Proceedings

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A New Funding Source for AT

Presenter
Jamie Judd-Wall, Executive Director
Technology and Inclusion

Patrick McDaniel, Consultant
Technology and Inclusion

Box 150878, Austin, TX 78715-0878
Phone voice/message: (512) 280-7235
FAX: (512) 291-1113
Email: jamie@taicenter.com 
Web site: http://www.taicenter.com

A follow up on last year's session on the use of PUC funds to obtain augmentative communication devices. In out state the project is called STAP. Since last year, the process has become more defined and more augmentative communication and computer access items have been added to the approved list. Every state has a similar program and you too can use this unique and under-utilized source to obtain AAC devices.

STAP stands for Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program. The STAP program in Texas is authorized by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and is managed by the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TCDHH). It is designed to help all Texans whose disability makes telephone use difficult. There is a similar program in every state. At one time the program was exclusive to the use of TTY's. However, that is no longer the case.

The equipment is FREE to the user and is owned by them; not owned by the state and used on loan. There is no waiting list and there are no income guidelines to qualify. There is also no exclusion if you are the recipient of another program. I know you are thinking that this sounds almost too good to be true. In fact I have been surprised that more people aren't getting equipment from this program! Having seen so many children and adults struggle with agencies and insurance to obtain equipment, I am excited to share the news of this wonderful opportunity.

The program, as it is currently being managed, provides the equipment but no training. (There is an RFP currently out for the training component and we may be able to discuss that if it is awarded and operative by the time of the conference) As such it uses a 'skills in evidence, rather than a 'medically necessary' standard of determination. In the session we'll review the different standards, skills in evidence and medically necessary, as well as the funding and application process. We will discuss the combination of funding STAP and the relationship to existing funding sources such as schools, Medicaid and pr.


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