Request for Information - Use of Assistive Technology in Services for Individuals with Development Disabilities

Request for information

Use of Assistive Technology in Services for Individuals with Development Disabilities

Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Developmental Disabilities

Introduction

The Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) would like to thank your organization in advance for reviewing this Request for Information (RFI) and assisting the State of Illinois (State) in this effort. This RFI is being issued by DDD in an effort to learn what innovative assistive technology strategies are currently being employed by services agencies, both residential (CILA and ICFDD) and day program, and to learn of any innovative assistive technology strategies providers would like to expand or newly implement, if resources were available.

  1. Background

From the Assistive Technology Industry Association: "Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.

  • AT can be low-tech: communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt.
  • AT can be high-tech: special-purpose computers.
  • AT can be hardware: prosthetics, mounting systems, and positioning devices.
  • AT can be computer hardware: special switches, keyboards, and pointing devices.
  • AT can be computer software: screen readers and communication programs.
  • AT can be inclusive or specialized learning materials and curriculum aids.
  • AT can be specialized curricular software.
  • AT can be much more-electronic devices, wheelchairs, walkers, braces, educational software, power lifts, pencil holders, eye-gaze and head trackers, and much more.

Assistive technology helps people who have difficulty speaking, typing, writing, remembering, pointing, seeing, hearing, learning, walking, and many other things. Different disabilities require different assistive technologies."

As part of the State's effort to look at and revise rates for CILA, ICFDD and support services, several subject matter subcommittees were formed and charged with looking at both current rate components and their underlying policies in order to make recommendations for changes. The Assistive Technology (AT) subcommittee took the charge seriously and offered the following position on the use of assistive technology for people with developmental disabilities:

The adoption and use of technology are critical to the field of disabilities. The benefits of incorporating newer and emerging technologies are innumerable. And, for Illinois' citizens with disabilities, the successful implementation of technology will result in an enhanced quality of life and increased independence. The immeasurable benefits will be felt statewide and may include:

  1. More people with disabilities will be able to live in their own homes with fewer roommates and less dependence on physical staff presence;
  2. Mainstream technologies now incorporate accessibility features into devices as a standard practice which allows people with disabilities to effectively use the same devices as everyone else allowing them to blend into the fabric of the community;
  3. Commercially available, off the shelf solutions are becoming increasingly affordable - more so than products traditionally designed specifically for people with disabilities;
  4. Many products are designed to be mobile, meaning the technology can go with a person - from home to work to the community - which will allow a level of flexibility that is rare with older technologies; and
  5. Providers will be able to reallocate staffing resources to address the work force crisis through the implementation of technology.

The AT subcommittee recommended DDD establish The Assistive Technology for People with Developmental Disabilities Pilot Program ("the Pilot Program"), allocating funding in FY2020. DDD intends to use this RFI as the means to learn more regarding the present and future state of AT.

The AT procured for use in the Pilot Program will:

  1. Serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities currently receiving Home and Community-Based Services in this state or in ICFDDs;
  2. Be only newer and emerging technologies not covered under the existing Medicaid state plan or HCBS waiver;
  3. Not affect existing funding of technologies that are covered under the existing Medicaid state plan or HCBS waiver;
  4. Include technology supports for a person in their residence, day program, and/or their community;
  5. Assist individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live person-centered lives, of their own choosing;
  6. Enhance the use and impact of technology supports on the participating individuals' quality of life, personal growth, and personal satisfaction with the supports; and
  7. Enhance the use and impact of the technology supports on the greater intellectual and developmental disabilities community as they live, work, and play in their communities.
  1. Areas of Interest

DDD has two primary areas of interest under this RFI. The Division is aware that there are service providers who have already delved into the area of assistive technology and have successfully implemented or are in the process of implementing strategies and/or equipment to promote independence for individuals receiving their services. DDD would like to hear from providers about their efforts to better understand the scope and breadth of the use of assistive technology in the State.

The second area of interest is to learn how providers would either like to expand upon their current efforts concerning assistive technology, or who have innovative ideas about how to newly employ assistive technology, if resources were available.

  1. Information Requested

For providers currently implementing innovative assistive technology strategies, please provide the following information:

  1. Name of your organization and primary contact information for individual most knowledgeable about the AT strategy(ies).
  2. Brief description of the AT strategy(ies).
  3. Cost to the agency to implement the strategy (ies). Please use a line item approach so that DDD can see which costs were one-time (e.g. purchase of equipment) versus which are on-ongoing costs.
  4. Short narrative regarding outcomes, positive or negative, your agency has experienced as it relates to the use of the assistive technology strategy(ies).
  5. Short narrative regarding outcomes, positive or negative, the individual(s) with a developmental disability has experienced as it relates to the use of the assistive technology strategy(ies).

For providers currently implementing assistive technology strategies, who wish for additional funding for expansion of the current strategy or to test a new strategy, please provide the following information:

Part A. Information Regarding Current Strategy(ies)

  1. Name of your organization and primary contact information for individual most knowledgeable about the AT strategy(ies).
  2. Brief description of the AT strategy(ies).
  3. Cost to the agency to implement the strategy(ies). Please use a line item approach so that DDD can see which costs were one-time (e.g. purchase of equipment) versus which are on-ongoing costs.
  4. Short narrative regarding outcomes, positive or negative, your agency has experienced as it relates to the use of the assistive technology strategy(ies).
  5. Short narrative regarding outcomes, positive or negative, the individual(s) with a developmental disability has experienced as it relates to the use of the assistive technology strategy(ies).

Part B. Information Regarding Expansion of Current Strategy(ies) or New Strategy

  1. Name of your organization and primary contact information for individual most knowledgeable about the proposed AT strategy(ies)
  2. General explanation of the type of technology desired;
  3. Description of the outcomes expected from the implementation of that technology;
  4. Assessment of existing marketplace for these products/services and what qualifications should be expected from vendors in that marketplace and
  5. Estimate the additional anticipated annual expense that the AT expansion would cost the organization for the technology using a line item format, clearly indicating which items are one-time and which are on-going expenses.

For providers not currently implementing assistive technology strategies, but who wish to test a new strategy, please provide the following information:

  1. Name of your organization and primary contact information for individual most knowledgeable about the proposed AT strategy(ies)
  2. General explanation of the type of technology desired;
  3. Description of the outcomes expected from the implementation of that technology;
  4. Assessment of existing marketplace for these products/services and what qualifications should be expected from vendors in that marketplace; and
  5. Estimate the anticipated annual expense of the proposal using a line item format, clearly indicating which items would be a one-time and which would be on-going expenses. In addition, the amount of funding would be required for your organization to implement the technology.
  1. RFI Schedule and Submissions

Please send all responses and direct all questions regarding this Request for Information to:

Pam Enno

Illinois Department of Human Services Procurement Office
401 N. 4th Street, Centrum North, 2nd Floor 
Springfield, IL 62702

Only questions emailed to pamela.enno@illinois.gov will be answered. All questions and answers will be posted as an addendum to the original posting on the DHS Website. Responses to questions will not be answered directly to the entity asking the questions.

Submissions are due no later than COB Monday, September 16, 2019.

Q and A's Regarding the Assistive Technology RFI