Official Early Intervention Taskforce Report
Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Bureau of Early Intervention


Recommendations:

Recommendation #6
The Bureau of Early Intervention will conduct a thorough review of the current Assistive Technology service in order to identify current inefficiencies, incorporate recommended practices and realize cost savings.

Background

Assistive Technology (AT) equipment, devices and supplies are things like hearing aids, orthotics, standers and many other things that are needed by eligible children in order for them to participate in early intervention and in their family and their community. In Illinois, AT must be recommended by an approved Evaluator and authorized on an eligible child's Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). AT is purchased by the state and ownership is transferred to the family. AT is not reclaimed at any time by the state. However, families may donate AT equipment, devices and/or supplies to various community organizations in the state.

Rationale for Recommendation

  • Because AT must be recommended by an Evaluator and the Evaluator is readily available at the time of program entry, it has been found that equipment is recommended and authorized by that initial Evaluator before an ongoing therapist has had an opportunity to truly assess the need for the equipment. This leads to the purchase of equipment that may not be the best fit for the family, may not fit well in the home or may not be developmentally necessary. All of which result in an unnecessary expense to the state.
  • Equipment is purchased without consideration for space constraints or a family's ability or desire to use the equipment - resulting in expensive equipment sitting in a corner not being used or being discarded or even sold for profit.
  • There is no system in place to recycle, reclaim or reuse equipment. Expensive equipment that may be quickly outgrown is left with families to discard, donate or sell.

Required Actions

  • In collaboration with the Department of Health and Family Services (HFS), the Bureau of Early Intervention will conduct a review of what is currently being approved for purchase, including a comparison to what other state Part C EI Programs are approving for purchase, and revise the current list of approved/approvable AT.
  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will assess the costs and liabilities associated with supplying existing lending programs with equipment/supplies with the understanding that such programs would have in place or would develop mechanisms to recycle, reclaim or reuse the equipment and supplies when possible.
  • The Bureau of Early Intervention will maximize participation by service coordinators and providers in the current AT training module.