The Assistive Technology Act of 1998
The Assistive Technology Act of 1998, Title III, allows “Tech Act” states to establish alternative financing programs to enable a disabled person to purchase assistive technology or accessibility options. The program is now available in 32 states. The loans range from $500 to $20,000, and can be paid back over six years. The cost is $75 bank processing fee. To learn more about this program in your state, first visit the Florida program at http://faast.org.
The Ziba Foundation
The Ziba Foundation has contracted with American Billing Service to provide administrative support, including free or reduced cost billing services, to PM&R physicians who practice medicine in under-served or impoverished areas. The program is intended to foster, extend and maintain PM&R physician services to both underserved geographical regions, as well as provide support for PM&R practices which predominately serve economically deprived or disadvantaged populations. Preference is given to those physicians who provide an inordinately high percentage of indigent care. Please bring to our attention the name of any PM&R physician whom you believe would benefit from participating in this program.
Stepping Stone Foundation’s “medical equipment bank”
Stepping Stone Foundation maintains a “medical equipment bank” to provide free medical equipment, including motorized scooters and electric wheel chairs, automatic hospital beds, and disposable medical supplies, to individuals and families who are unable to afford the high cost of these items. No one is denied because of the inability to pay. The sole request is that the equipment be returned when the need no longer exists. If you have serviceable equipment that you no longer need, please contact the Foundation direct, or email our office. American Billing Service has funds available to pay the costs for shipping needed items to the Foundation warehouse and distribution center. To contact the Foundation directly, log on to http://www.steppingstonefoundation.org.
Helping Patients (www.helpingpatients.org)
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American maintains a free website, http://helpingpatients.org, which details 300 patient-assistence programs offering a total of 1,400 low- or no-cost medications to the uninsured. It is designed for limited-income patients, especially seniors, struggling to pay the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, according to Marjorie Powell, a PhRMA spokeswoman. However, anyone can go online and put in six pieces of information and get information on all the patient-assistance programs available.
The pharmaceutical industry last year gave free medications worth 1.5 billion wholesale to 5.5 million people nationwide. Patients browsing the site are asked to provide personal information that includes age, annual family income, household size and medications taken. Consumers also can enroll for e-mail updates on new drugs.
Discounts offered specifically to seniors by some drug companies, for example, range from 25 percent off wholesale prices to 40 percent off retail prices, according to information provided by PhRMA. Each drug company sets its own eligibility criteria for its assistance program. Common qualifiers include limited income, lack of insurance and few or no financial assets.
www.autism.org is the website of the Center for the Study of Autism. The site offers links to other sites concerning autism. It is estimated that 400,000 people in the United States have some form of autism. Autism’s rate of appearance now puts it as the third most common developmental disability, more common than Down’s Syndrome. Interestingly, the majority of the public, including professionals in the medical, educational and vocational fields, are still not aware of how prevalent autism has become in our population, and many lack the necessary knowledge to effectively work with autistic persons. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects functions of the brain. It affects 15 out of every 10,000 individuals. It is noted that many but not all, autistic children lack perception to pain. One explanation concludes that this may be due to elevated levels of endorphins, which are endogenous opiate-like substances in the body. This site contains an enormous amount of information and can be a great learning tool for families and staff.
Traumatic Brain Injury Protection and Advocacy Grant Announcement
Recognizing the significant impact that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has on individuals, families and society, Congress passed the TBI Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-166) to “provide for the conduct of expanded studies and the establishment of innovative programs with respect to traumatic brain injury.” When Congress reauthorized the TBI Act as part of the Children’s Health Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-310), it also authorized the Health Resources and Services Administration to make grants to State Protection and Advocacy systems (P&A) for the purpose of ensuring that individuals with TBI and their families have access to information, referrals, individual and family advocacy, legal representation, and specific assistance in self-advocacy.
Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, Inc (PP&A, Inc.) is one of twenty-eight states that has been awarded a $50,000 grant to establish protection and advocacy services for persons who have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).PP&A, Inc. operates a toll-free number (800-692-7443 V/TTY) used annually by thousands of consumers, family members, advocates and professionals. Staff will conduct outreach activities through the development of culturally competent materials, provision of training and collaboration with other groups and agencies involved in TBI services and supports. PP&A staff will provide training to individuals with TBI, families, support groups, and professionals on topics such as self-advocacy, program eligibility requirements and legal rights.
For further information regarding the Pennsylvania or national programs, please contact us.