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Assistive Technology and Remote Supports

Technology First

In May 2018, Gov. John Kasich signed the Technology First Executive Order, making Ohio the first state in the country to place an emphasis on expanding access to technology for people with developmental disabilities.

Under the executive order, the department will work with county boards of developmental disabilities to ensure technology is considered as part of all service and support plans for people with disabilities. The executive order is not a technology-only policy but aims to help people learn more about how to use technology to improve their quality of life and how they can experience more independence and personal freedom.

Supportive technology, which helps a person accomplish a task or provides care from a distance, includes two services: Assistive Technology and Remote Support. All Medicaid waivers cover the cost and maintenance of equipment used for Remote Support service delivery. DODD expects the proposed Assistive Technology rule to go into effect January 1, 2019.

Assistive Technology Virtual Home

Assistive technology includes devices like those that can turn off a stove when a person isn't using it or cellphone applications that provide step-by-step assistance with recipes. The upcoming Assistive Technology service rule will make the purchasing process simpler for all Medicaid waivers and ensure a person's provider will have continued access to education for the devices.

The kind of supportive technology each person uses will be different, depending on the kind of support they need. View the assistive technology virtual home for more information on some available options.

Remote Support

Remote Support Animation (YouTube)

MCBDD Remote Support video

Remote Support, sometimes called remote monitoring, is a Medicaid service per OAC 5123: 2-9-35. The service offers a person with a developmental disability the support of a direct service provider even when the provider is not in their home with them.

Remote Support uses two-way communication in real time, just like Skype or FaceTime, so a person can communicate with their providers when they need them. A person can choose supports like sensors that call for help if someone has fallen or cameras that help monitor who is visiting a person's home.

How to Start Using Remote Support

Have a conversation to identify why a person with a developmental disability uses direct care staff and if their health and safety needs can be met remotely.

Have a team meeting where the person accessing services, their providers, and service and support administrator can talk about which needs might be met remotely, for what hours, and how backup support will be provided.

If the person chooses remote support, the provider that will act as a backup to those supports will be the one to choose the vendor for the technology and equipment needed. If the backup support is unpaid, natural supports like family or neighbors, the person, or their guardian will choose the vendor.

The service and support administrator works with the team to amend the individual service plan, or ISP, to include detailed protocols for the new remote support.

An ISP that includes remote support should detail backup support contact information and what to do if the person wants to turn off remote support equipment.