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Division Policy 6.07

SUBJECT

Purchase of Access and Rehabilitation Technology

EFFECTIVE DATE

September 1, 2012

REVIEW DATE

As needed

EXPIRATION DATE

This policy will be reviewed annually and updated as needed.

PURPOSE

Provide guidelines for the purchase of computers, software, note takers and all other technology.

AUTHORITY  

FS 413; Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

POLICY

It is the policy of DBS to purchase computers and assistive technology (AT) consistent with a client’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), when such computer or AT purchase is necessary for the VR client’s success in preparing for, obtaining, maintaining or advancing in employment. This policy is inclusive of purchasing necessary AT for VR clients who are actively engaged in DBS sponsored training programs.

When considering the purchase of computers and assistive technology, the guidelines below must be followed:

AT Purchases:

  • Purchase of AT will be sponsored by DBS based upon an assessment by qualified DBS personnel.  DBS staff must document the assessment/justification in the AWARE case management system case notes to support the purchase of AT.  DBS staff is responsible for writing the justification to support the client’s need/request and indicate in the justification that the counselor agrees and supports the request.  DBS will provide payment for AT that meets the consumer’s needs based on the assessment.
  • Qualified DBS personnel may make recommendations for the purchase of computers for college students when a) the purchase of equipment is necessary, b) it meets the consumer’s needs as documented in an approved IPE, and c) all other state and federal agency regulations have been followed. The request for approval review shall consider the needs of the VR client as documented in his/her approved Individual Plan for Employment.
  • Assistive technology will be purchased through state contracts when the AT is available and appropriate to meet the client’s needs as per his/her Individualized Plan for Employment. Other vendors may be authorized by the VR Supervisor or District Administrator, or other senior management, as necessary.
  • For accountability and tracking purposes, the following approval process is applied for all AT purchases: Expenditures at or below $1,500, must receive purchase approval from the local level district offices. Expenditures above $1,500 must receive purchase approval by designated state office personnel. Computer purchases under the state contract are excluded from the vendor quote rule. The vendor quote rule is indicated in item number eleven.
  • Assistive technology purchases that are at or above $3,000 may be recommended by qualified DBS personnel and/or referred to authorized Rehabilitation Engineer(s) for evaluation and recommendation---prior to purchase.

When attempting to procure AT under this policy, qualified DBS personnel and/or vendors may demo/introduce AT to clients to assist in identifying appropriate AT to meet the client’s needs and approved goals. A minimum of two (2) vendors must be solicited for demonstrations whenever an outside vendor demonstration is necessary.

Once AT has been identified to meets the client’s needs according to their individualized plan for employment, DBS personnel will solicit quotes from a minimum of three (3) vendors. In the event that the identified AT is only available from a single provider (aka a “sole source”) a letter shall be required for the file to justify the purchase without additional quotes. For efficiency, DBS personnel may send an email to all qualified vendors requesting a quote. The request should specify a deadline for a response and provide space for vendor to provide information on standard and extended warranties. Quotes and sole source letters must be provided in the files. Sole Source letters must be updated every year on January 1. Note: that any AT purchased at or above $35,000 that is not on a state contract must follow state purchasing guidelines for purchases meeting that threshold.

  • Purchase of CCTV’s must follow the Low vision Policy 8.17, which is located on the DBS website.
  • It is generally expected that schools will meet the technology needs of students with disabilities. However, DBS personnel will purchase technology for Transition Program clients as needed for their academic training programs when it is consistent with RSA guidance and MOUs with the local school districts.  DBS VR counselors will make every effort to obtain documentation from the school system prior to purchasing needed AT. The Division will also purchase software designed to make equipment accessible to DBS clients.  

Training and Assessment

  • Training and assessment in the identification and use of AT for clients will be provided as needed by the local Community Rehabilitation Provider and will be a part of the client’s IPE.  (Assessment will address skills necessary to utilize the technology, ensure adequate training is provided, and that the client can benefit from purchase). 

Software

  • DBS will provide anti-virus software on all computers purchased through this policy. Contracted provider(s) will provide training on how to avoid spyware, popups, adware, viruses, Trojans and the like.  DBS will correct these issues on the first occurrence.  Subsequent repairs of the same issues will be the responsibility of the client.  Exceptions will be handled on a case by case basis.
  • Installations of assistive technology and/or software will be administered through an authorized vendor or other resources as necessary.
  • A Software maintenance agreement will only be purchased, when necessary, for VR clients who are in school (e.g. college/university settings) or in DBS sponsored education programs. 
  • For clients who are employed, DBS may assist with upgrading and maintaining software and equipment purchased by the agency when it is necessary to preserve the client’s job or for his/her advancement when the client or employer is unable to do so. Documentation must be in the client’s electronic file stating why the employer is unable to provide or assist in providing the necessary software and/or equipment. Staff will be required to document attempts to obtain a statement from the employer.  

Computer & Assistive Technology Ownership and Maintenance

  • The Division maintains ownership and is responsible for maintenance and repair of Computers and Assistive Technology, including software licenses, for three years. The purchase of an extended warranty shall be made for equipment when it’s in the best interest of the division to meet this obligation.

During this three year period, every attempt will be made by the DBS Counselor, VR Supervisor and District Administrator to reclaim any AT or software that is no longer needed for the client’s employment or training. DBS staff, beginning with the assigned Counselor will document their efforts in reclaiming DBS property. Methods of reclaiming AT shall include at minimum a) direct contact with the client to specify a date for AT to be returned. b) when AT is not returned by the established date, the counselor will establish a date to retrieve the AT. c) the counselor will refer cases of un-returned AT to the VR Supervisor and District Administrator for escalation when necessary.  

  • A Client Equipment Inventory and Receipt Form #108 must be completed and signed by all parties when the client receives the AT or when DBS reclaims possession. The completed form will be attached to the authorization in the client’s paper file.

After three years, responsibility for repair and maintenance of all AT shall be the responsibility of the client. 

Definitions

Assistive Technology (AT) is any object or system that increases or maintains the capabilities of people with disabilities.

Individualize Plan of Employment (IPE)-is a document developed by the individual with a disability and his/her vocational rehabilitation counselor.

Level 1 Training- Basic technology training specific to speech and screen magnification, hardware, open book scanning, installation of accessibility software, basic computer set-up as well as minimal troubleshooting, and introduction to low vision and blindness products.

Level 2 Training- Advanced technology training; all skills in Level 1 plus in-depth hands on training to include more detailed troubleshooting capabilities, advanced features of accessibility software, internet access using accessibility software, knowledge of printers, Braille displays, MAC overview, installing anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, review of iPhone and iPad and troubleshooting various job site scenarios

Qualified DBS Personnel- is defined as an individual who has completed Level 1 and Level 2 Technology Training and who has the knowledge, skills and abilities to make appropriate AT recommendations to meet a client’s specific needs.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor- a professional with a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or related field, who assists disabled individuals in assessing their strengths and weaknesses and selecting jobs or careers that maximize their potential to become contributing members of the workforce.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Supervisor- a professional with a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or related field who supervises either the planning and provision of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities as well as assists disabled individuals in assessing their strengths and weaknesses and selecting jobs or careers that maximize their potential to become contributing members of the workforce.

Signed by DBS Director Robert L. Doyle, III on May 1, 2014.