Ohio Technology First Council Makes Technology Recommendations

Topics: State News,

According to the report, “Supportive technology allows people with developmental disabilities to experience more independence by providing personalized support for daily tasks or by offering care at a distance. Supportive technology encompasses two distinct Medicaid services in Ohio: Assistive Technology and Remote Support.  Under the Technology First Executive Order 2018-06K, the department will work with the Ohio Technology First Council and 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.”

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities has been committed to increasing the use of supportive technology for people with developmental disabilities throughout the years. The department began these efforts in 2012, when the state began to fund technology that would provide telepsychiatry videoconferencing for people with developmental disabilities who had a co-occurring mental health diagnosis and lived in remote areas without access to behavioral health care.

By 2013, the department furthered its commitment when Ohio became one of the first states in the nation to get approval from the federal government to add technology to its Home and Community-Based Services waivers. At that time, the changes made to the department’s waiver program focused on remote support technology with the hope that the additions would help address the growing direct service provider-staffing crisis. Later, the department came to understand that this type of technology was critical in helping improve the independence of people with developmental disabilities.  In May 2018, Gov. John Kasich signed the Technology First Executive Order, 2018-06K, making Ohio the first state in the country to emphasize expanding access to technology for people with developmental disabilities. Since the signing, Ohio has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Ohioans with developmental disabilities using supportive technology. In addition, with the full implementation of the Ohio Technology First Council benchmarks, the number of users is expected to increase significantly.

Some of these Recommendations include:

BENCHMARK #1: 2,150 people with disabilities receiving Medicaid-funded supports will have supportive technology authorized in their annual plan by December 31, 2019.

BENCHMARK #2

All 88 counties will access Medicaid funding for at least one person for a.) Remote Support and/or b.) Assistive Technology.

BENCHMARK #3

All county board strategic plans or progress reports will include current strategies for increasing the use of supportive technology to meet assessed needs.

BENCHMARK #4

Each person with a disability will have an opportunity during the person-centered planning process to consider how technology may meet assessed needs.

BENCHMARK #5

Increase the number of certified technology vendors from six to ten, and expand provider capacity for delivering Remote Support.