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VIRGINIA Assistive Technology System VATS
The Virginia Assistive Technology System (VATS) is a statewide program authorized and funded by the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, as amended and administered by the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services. VATS was established in 1990 with commitment to increasing awareness, accessibility and acquisition of assistive technology. The program is guided by an Advisory Council composed of individuals with disabilities, family members and representatives from Virginia's disability service agencies.
One of VATS priorities’ is to establish assistive technology recycling programs across the State. VATS will work with local groups to plan and implement AT recycling specific to each community. In 2009, VATS applied for and received a grant from the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) Trust Fund Board.
VATS has three Assistive Technology Regional Sites that provide community contact points throughout Virginia for assistive technology information and resources across designated regions. These Regional Sites provide training, public awareness, and general technical assistance for consumers who can benefit from the use of assistive technology.
The Virginia Assistive Technology System operates a central office and three regional sites across the Commonwealth. The mission of the VATS is to ensure that Virginians of all ages and abilities can acquire the appropriate, affordable assistive and information technologies and services they need to participate in society as active citizens. At the community level, these sites provide information and referral on devices, services, funding options and other activities specific to each region's needs. For additional information, please visit the website of each of these offices.
- The VATS Central Office is located within the Department of Rehabilitative Services in Richmond, Virginia.
- The VATS North Regional Site is located at the are located in northern Virginia at The Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities (KIHD) at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
- The VATS Southeast Regional Site is located at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
- The VATS Southwest Regional Site is located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Information and Referral
Through our Information and Referral (I & R) system you have access to a considerable amount of information on assistive technology products, funding options, and resources that range from therapists to service providers to assistive technology vendors. You can access this system by phone at 1-800-435-8490 or by selecting the appropriate subject areas on this web site, e.g. the vendor database provides a listing of vendors of AT products and services, and Types of AT which pictures a variety of devices and describes what they do. Go to the Information and Referral Page for more information.
Programs and Services:
Demonstrations of AT devices and equipment are offered at all of VATS regional sites, giving you the opportunity to try before you buy. Each site keeps a range of devices that might meet your expressed need. Staff will demonstrate how devices work and assist you in your decision making process.
Reuse of Assistive Technology – VATS priority is to build a statewide network of Assistive Technology (AT) reuse programs. Gently used durable medical equipment (DME) is donated by the public to the Virginia Reuse Network (VRN) where the equipment is then sanitized, repaired, matched, and redistributed at no cost to the consumer. The VRN provides reused DME to qualifying Virginians with disabilities.
Equipment Exchange – The AT Equipment Exchange provides a means for anyone to post assistive technology (AT) equipment and services they wish to donate or sell to Virginians with disabilities at a reduced price. Individuals may also request assistive technology items needed. The Equipment Exchange functions like a classified advertisement, connecting individuals with one another to exchange equipment. Exchange activities do not involve warehousing inventory and do not include repair, sanitation or refurbishing of used devices. VATS is not directly involved in the transaction; VATS only provides contact information of the potential “buyers” and “sellers”. The Equipment Exchange is managed using an email distribution list of statewide partners participating in the Virginia Reuse Network. The exchange is intended to provide statewide access to and acquisition of AT products and services. If you are interested in posting “equipment needed” or equipment for donation or sale, please contact Barclay Shepard at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 662-9990.
Funding Programs – There are many resources available to pay for Assistive Technology. If you are a client of one of the State Disability Agencies and need AT to function independently at work, at home or in your community, that agency may pay for what you need. If you have private health insurance that will cover the cost of medical equipment, you can submit a claim to them. If you are on Medicaid and you need AT for medical conditions, Medicaid will purchase the device(s) you need.
If you do not qualify for any of these resources, you can apply for a loan from the NewWell Fund. The NewWell Fund provides loans to purchase assistive technology, including vehicles and home modifications, with longer repayment terms, low monthly payments, and low interest rates. They also manage the Consumer Services Funds which is a fund of last resort for persons with minimal income. See www.NewWellFund.org for more details.