BESB: Equipment Ownership
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Equipment Ownership

On February 26, 2009 the Regulations of State Agencies were modified to permit clients of BESB to take ownership of equipment provided by this agency for educational, rehabilitative or independent living purposes.

With the change in State Regulations, BESB clients are not obligated to return previously loaned equipment to BESB.

      When a client no longer needs the equipment, BESB may accept it back as a donation, or clients may dispose of it in any other way they choose.

      Since the equipment is now the client’s, if there are any repairs needed, the clients will need to take care of those themselves. Click on the link below to view a list of vendors who perform a variety of repair services. Some of these vendors perform in-home services.

Repair Vendors

      For additional guidance on whom to contact for repairs call BESB stockroom at (800) 842-4510 or (860) 602-4000.

      BESB is able to reimburse for the cost of repairs upon the submission of proof of payment. For more information on this option, please contact our stockroom staff.

Board of Education and Services for the Blind

Policy Guidance 09-02

October 21, 2009

REVISED January 26, 2011

 

Ownership of Equipment Provided By BESB

 

Dear BESB staff and community partners;

 

On February 26, 2009 the Regulations of State Agencies were modified to permit clients of BESB to take ownership of equipment provided by this agency for educational, rehabilitative or independent living purposes.  In part, these new Regulations contain the following language:

 

Sec. 10-293-5(6) and Section 10-306-11a (18):   Any adaptive equipment from the agency that is currently held by a client or any adaptive equipment from the agency received by a client shall be the property of such client.  At such time as the client no longer desires the equipment, disposal shall be at the client’s discretion. The cost of maintenance or repair of the equipment shall rest with the client. In circumstances where a client requests, the agency shall reimburse the client for the documented cost of the repair and applicable shipping of said equipment to and from the repair location. The agency shall accept returned equipment.”

 

Sec. 10-295-10 (c)(2): “Any adaptive equipment from the agency that is currently held by a child or any adaptive equipment from the agency received by a child shall be the property of such child or the child’s guardian. At such time as the child or guardian no longer desires the equipment, disposal shall be at the child or guardian’s discretion. The cost of maintenance or repair of the equipment shall rest with the child or guardian. In circumstances where a child or guardian requests, the agency shall reimburse the child or guardian for the documented cost of the repair and applicable shipping of said equipment to and from the repair location. The agency shall accept returned equipment.”

 

Sec. 10-306-11a (17) Scope of Vocational Rehabilitation Services-- Occupational licenses, tools, equipment, initial stocks and supplies consistent with Vocational Rehabilitation Services Division policy:  “Any licenses, tools, equipment, stock and supplies from the agency that are currently held by a client or any licenses, tools, equipment, stock and supplies from the agency received by a client shall be the property of such client.  At such time as the client no longer desires the equipment, disposal shall be at the client’s discretion. The cost of maintenance or repair of the equipment shall rest with the client. In circumstances where a client requests, the agency shall reimburse the client for the documented cost of the repair and applicable shipping of said equipment to and from the repair location. The agency shall accept returned equipment.”

 

Sec. 10-306-11a (18) Scope of Vocational Rehabilitation Services-- Rehabilitation technology as defined in Section 10-306-2a (b)(69), including vehicular modifications, telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices:  “Any equipment from the agency that is currently held by a client or any equipment from the agency received by a client shall be the property of such client.  At such time as the client no longer desires the equipment, disposal shall be at the client’s discretion. The cost of maintenance or repair of the equipment shall rest with the client. In circumstances where a client requests, the agency shall reimburse the client for the documented cost of the repair and applicable shipping of said equipment to and from the repair location. The agency shall accept returned equipment.”

 

Questions and Answers:

 

OWNERSHIP

 

Q: When does ownership of equipment transfer to the client?

A: At the time the client takes possession of the items, such as at the time of delivery by staff, vendor or when the shipped item has been signed for.

 

Q: What if a client does not sign and return the Equipment Ownership Agreement form?

A: The ownership of equipment is with the client at the time the client takes possession of it. Lack of an ownership agreement does not alter that. The ownership agreement is a preferred document to have at the time of delivery, but other documents, such as a print out showing the client signed for the shipment from the shipping carrier can also substantiate ownership.

 

Q: But if there are multiple items being shipped, how can BESB verify that all of the items were delivered to the client in the shipment?

A: It is best that multiple items come first to BESB, and then a delivery be arranged to set up the devices. In these situations, the ownership agreement should be signed at the time of delivery for all items being delivered. Single items, such as CCTV’s are better suited for direct shipment to the client from the vendor. In these situations, the agency should send the client an ownership agreement and self-addressed stamped envelope prior to the shipment, with instructions to sign and return the agreement to BESB when the equipment is received by them.

 

Q: Can a vendor deliver the equipment and obtain the signed ownership agreement on behalf of BESB?

A: Yes. If BESB orders one or more items from a vendor and part of the purchase includes set up of the equipment, then the vendor can deliver the equipment, obtain a signed ownership agreement and return it to BESB. In these instances, the vendor should not be the witness of the client ownership agreement. A family member or neighbor should sign as the witness.

 

Q: How can BESB be sure that clients have received the equipment if the ownership agreement has not been returned?

A: Our Stockroom staff track the ownership agreements to ensure that the agency receives them back. When the vendor bills the agency, if there is no ownership agreement from the client, payment to the vendor should not occur until the stockroom obtains some form of written verification that the equipment has been received by the client.

 

Q: Does software transfer in ownership to the client?

A: Yes, software provided as part of the rehabilitation process is owned by the client at the time the client takes possession of it.

 

Q: Does the agency need to track software provided to the client?

A: No. Items owned by clients are not tracked on agency inventory.

 

Q: For software purchased by the agency, the license is typically held by the agency, making it difficult for the client to obtain upgrades. How can this be resolved?

A: The agency will supply a letter of ownership transfer to the client upon request. If requested by the client, the agency can also contact the software vendor to clarify the circumstances to facilitate resolution. In situations where the vendor will not allow the license to transfer, or where the software license was a multiple user or site license that cannot transfer to an individual, the agency may consider a service agreement option (refer to the question in the REPAIR section specific to service agreements). If none of these options are available in a particular situation, then it will be necessary to evaluate the current circumstances of the client and purchase new software for the client to own directly to achieve or maintain their educational, independent living or rehabilitation goal.

 

Q: What if the Witness Signature is missing on the ownership agreement?

A: Our stockroom staff should contact the client and explain that an ownership agreement will be resent to them with a self addressed stamped envelope and inform the client that a witness, in addition to the client will have to sign the agreement. A signed letter from the client or delivery confirmation tracking form may be accepted in place of a signed and witnessed ownership agreement.

 

Q: If equipment is shipped to BESB first, doesn’t the agency have to put the items on inventory and then transfer the items to the client?

A: Items purchased under the bulk order process to place in agency storage rooms for anticipated future distribution will need to be put on agency inventory until such time as a client is identified to take ownership of the item. At that time, the item will need to be transferred in ownership to the client in CORE inventory. However, items purchased directly for a client may remain in our secure stockroom for up to ten business days after receipt without the need to add the item to inventory, since the item will be delivered in this short time span to the client.

 

Q: But there are situations where the agency makes purchases from multiple vendors for a client system and the items are received in multiple boxes over a month or longer. How should this be handled?

A: The regulations intended for clients to own equipment at the time that it was provided to them. In situations where multiple items will be coming first to the agency, and where there is an assumption that items will need to be in the stockroom for more than ten business days because of these circumstances, the equipment should be added to agency inventory and then transferred in ownership to the client at the time of delivery to the client.

 

Q: What if an item delivered to a client is broken or not working at the time of delivery?

A: Equipment should be tested before it is delivered to avoid this wherever possible. However, if an item is broken, it will not transfer in ownership. A functioning replacement will be provided. If the item is one of several items listed on the ownership agreement, it should be crossed off, with a notation that it was defective.

 

Q: Does equipment provided to a Business Enterprises facility such as a cafeteria or snack bar transfer in ownership to the client?

A: No. Equipment that is assigned to an agency location (such as a Business Enterprise facility that is operated by a client under an Operator’s Agreement) remains the property of the agency. Equipment needs to be assigned to a particular client to transfer in ownership to the client.

 

Q: What about equipment provided to a client as part of an approved Business Plan through Vocational Rehabilitation?

A: That equipment is assigned to the client, and not to a location under the direct oversight of the agency. It therefore transfers in ownership to the client at the time of delivery.

 

Q: Once equipment ownership transfers to the client, is the agency responsible for the ongoing provision of supplies such as ink cartridges for printers?

A: No. The agency will provide the initial supplies needed to achieve the rehabilitation goal. After the educational, independent living or rehabilitation goal has been achieved, routine ongoing supplies would be the responsibility of the client. A new case activation and eligibility determination would be necessary in circumstances where a client is unable to maintain their independent living or rehabilitation outcome due to a lack of incidental supplies.

 

Q: If the agency provides equipment for a particular career goal and the client decides to no longer seek employment, or the new career goal selected by the client no longer requires the item, may the agency require the client to return the equipment?

A: No. With the exception of equipment loaned to a client for short-term needs, once the equipment is provided to the client, it has transferred in ownership and cannot be repossessed.

 

Q: What is a short-term need?

A: Agency owned equipment may be loaned to a client using the standard agency loan agreement form and process for assessment purposes, or to provide a temporary unit while the client’s equipment is being repaired. Assessments are typically less than six months in duration, since the goal of the assessment is to acquire information necessary to make a recommendation or determination for an action step. Loan agreements should provide for reviews at 6 month intervals to ensure that the intended purpose of the short-term loan is addressed. The equipment should be returned to the agency and the loan agreement terminated once the purpose of the temporary loan has been achieved.

 

Q: The agency provided a client with an adaptive device and the client reports that it is not in their possession. The client is requesting a replacement of the item. Should the agency provide a replacement?

A: It is necessary for the client to document in writing the circumstances that resulted in the loss of the original item before the agency will consider the provision of a replacement. This includes asking the client for a copy of the loss report from the insurance company if the loss was due to damage to the residence, or a police report if the loss was due to theft. In circumstances where a client indicates that it was misplaced or disposed of, written documentation from the client of the circumstances must be obtained and reviewed by agency management to assess the unique circumstances of each of these situations. It is not possible to offer blanket guidance in this format to scenarios that can vary considerably from one situation to another. In general terms, the agency will need to consider the current rehabilitation needs of the individual and provide the services necessary for the individual to achieve their educational, independent living or rehabilitation goals.

 

REPAIR

 

Q: Can the agency pay for a repair on behalf of a client in advance?

A: No. Per regulations, the agency can only pay for the reimbursement of a documented repair. Agency funds cannot be committed in advance for this purpose.

 

Q: Will the agency cover the cost of shipping that the client incurs for sending the item to the vendor for repair and having it returned to them?

A: As long as the shipping costs are documented on a repair receipt, then these costs can be reimbursed to the client.

 

Q: Does the agency have to reimburse for the cost of the repair if the client submits proof of payment?

A: Yes. The regulations do not establish criteria for denying a reimbursement for the repair of equipment provided by this agency to the client.

 

Q: What if a client is unable to afford the cost of a repair?

A:  The client may pay the repair vendor by credit card and submit the credit payment receipt right away to the agency so that payment reimbursement processing can commence prior to the client receiving their monthly credit card statement from their bank.

 

Q: What if a client does not have a credit card and cannot afford to pay for the repair?

A: The agency can provide a letter to the client to share with relatives, friends or civic organizations informing them that the agency will reimburse the client for the repair cost, in the hope that such an assurance will enable the client to secure a short-term loan to cover the repair cost. BESB staff should assist clients in identifying civic organizations in their area when necessary.

 

Q: Can the agency directly pay back the relative, friend or civic organization for the repair payment?

A: No. The regulations stipulate that reimbursement is made to the client or the guardian of the client. There is no provision for the agency to direct pay a third party for these costs.

 

Q: Whom should the repair bill be sent to?
        A: The repair bill should be sent to the attention of the Agency Stockroom. Our stockroom staff will direct the reimbursement request to the agency program that provided the equipment to the client. That Program will create the requisition to reimburse the client.

 

Q: Does the repair receipt need to be an original or may it be a faxed, scanned, or Xeroxed copy?

A: The agency needs to receive an original repair bill in the mail from the client or the client's guardian. 

 

Q: Does the client need to complete any particular forms to get a reimbursement check from the agency?

A: Yes. In order for the client to receive a payment, they need to be established as a vendor of the agency first. To expedite the processing of reimbursements, W-9 forms and Agency Vendor Forms should be sent to the client by the division upon receipt of the repair invoice. Clients may also request a W-9 form and Agency Vendor Form from the agency Procurement Department and submit the completed forms to Procurement in advance of the repair. These forms are also available on the Department of Administrative Services website in electronic format and can be obtained by going to this web link:  http://www.das.state.ct.us/Purchase/Info/Vendor_Profile_Form_(SP-26NB).pdf

 

Q: The equipment the client has is outdated. If a repair is made, the unit will function, but the cost of the repair does not justify the expense. What should the agency do?

A: The life span of adaptive technology devices should be taken into account when a client inquires about a repair in advance of incurring a repair cost. While an item may be capable of being repaired, the ability of that item to meet the current educational, independent living or rehabilitation needs of the client should be considered in these situations. Is the equipment still the most effective, least expensive (in that order) adaptive device for the educational, independent living or rehabilitation need(s) of the client? The case manager and rehabilitation technologist should decide if a newer item, provided under an educational, independent living, or rehabilitation plan would be a more suitable solution before encouraging a repair of an outdated item.

 

Q: Is there a dollar threshold to use in considering whether to provide a replacement over reimbursement for a repair?

A: No. If repair of the item will result in the item being the most effective, least expensive (in that order for consideration) device for the client, then repair should occur.

 

Q: What if an item cannot be repaired?

A: If the agency case manager can obtain written verification from the repair vendor that the item cannot be repaired or that an attempted repair will likely not result in returning the item to functional status, then new adaptive devices may be considered under case services, following the applicable divisional policies in place for the provision of  equipment for rehabilitation, independent living or educational needs.  

 

Q: Can the agency pay for service agreements?

A: The agency may purchase agreements that encompass the services that would fall under the purview of rehabilitation technology. These services would include installation, repair, updating and training in the use of adaptive devices provided by the agency for educational, independent living or rehabilitation purposes. The decision to purchase a service agreement does not need to occur at the time of the assignment of the equipment to the client. Rather, rehabilitation needs of the eligible client will determine if rehabilitation technology services are necessary. Where the assigned case manager determines that rehabilitation technology services are necessary to enable the client to obtain, retain or regain the ability to utilize adaptive devices to accomplish their educational, independent living or rehabilitation goals, then purchasing of service agreements may be utilized to meet all or part of these needs.

 

Q: Can the agency purchase maintenance agreements?

A: The agency will not pay for the exclusive service of maintenance, which is defined as a service provided to prevent a functioning item from the potential of falling into disrepair. For instance, the agency will not purchase or reimburse a client for the cost of an annual “tune-up” of a functioning item. However, the agency may purchase service agreements where preventive maintenance is included in the overall bundled package cost of rehabilitation technology services (refer to previous question for guidance on the definition of rehabilitation technology services).

 

 

DONATIONS

 

Q: Can the agency refuse a donation of equipment from a client.

A:  No.

 

Q: What if the equipment is obsolete or broken?

A: Donated items that cannot be repaired will need to be placed in surplus status consistent with agency inventory policies. Equipment that can be cost effectively repaired will be brought back to operational status and placed on the agency inventory, consistent with agency policy and made available for use.

 

Q: Can a client “trade in” their equipment for a newer model?

A: The first consideration is whether the equipment the client presently has is the most effective, least expensive (in that order) equipment for their educational, independent living or rehabilitation needs. If the equipment is still meeting these criteria, then a donation to the agency for the specific purpose of seeking a replacement would not be appropriate. While the agency cannot refuse the donation, the act of donating the equipment to seek a stance that now the client has no equipment to meet a particular educational, independent living or rehabilitation need would not suffice.

 

Q: But what if the equipment is broken and the cost to repair the equipment is impractical, compared to the cost of purchasing a replacement?

 

A:  There are scenarios where a vendor will offer a client or the agency a credit for the returned item to apply toward the purchase of a replacement or updated version of the item. Since the item is owned by the client, he or she may opt to donate the item to the vendor. The vendor may choose to offer BESB a discounted price for any item they sell, providing the vendor is on contract to do business with this agency. Therefore, it is possible that in this unique set of circumstances, the agency could purchase a new item for the client to replace a broken unit that a vendor offers a credit for in exchange for a discounted replacement. However, this scenario must be considered within the context of determining what is the most effective, least expensive equipment to meet the rehabilitation needs of the client. In situations where a repair of an item will rectify the rehabilitation need of the individual, the client should pursue that approach and seek reimbursement from this agency if desired.

 

Q: Is there a particular form a client must complete to make a donation?
A: No. The client may write a note, send a letter, or physically bring the item to the agency. Donated equipment entering the agency should be signed in at the security desk, with all required information noted on the equipment sign in log. The description of the item recorded on the log should include the manufacturer’s serial number to assist with tracking of the item when it is placed onto agency inventory subsequent to the donation.  If a staff person is receiving the item as a donation while in the field, the staff person should sign in the equipment upon returning to the agency (including the manufacturer’s serial number), and send an email notification to the stockroom, stating the name of the client, and type of device being donated. The equipment should be given directly to the stockroom staff to secure as agency equipment. Equipment should never be left unsecured. For the convenience of clients and staff, the agency does make available an optional form that may be used when making a donation.

 

Q: Does the agency send an acknowledgment to clients who donate equipment?
A: If the staff person returning the donated equipment informs the agency Executive Secretary of the donation, a thank you letter is sent out.

 

Q: Are donations of equipment to BESB tax deductable?

A: This should be a question for the client to ask their accountant or income tax preparer.

 

Q: If someone wants to donate equipment, does the agency send a staff person to pick it up?

 

A: The agency is a not able to guarantee that a staff person will be available to pick up client owned equipment in every situation, or on a particular time schedule. However, where it is feasible for a staff person to make a pick up when agency business brings the staff member within close proximity of the item’s location, then the agency will pick up the item at that time. Clients should provide a letter or note indicating their donation of the item to BESB when it is picked up.

 

Q: Who should a client or their family call to arrange for a pick up or a drop off of a donated item at the agency?

 

A: Calls should be directed to the agency stockroom by calling (860) 602- 4080, or calling (800) 842-4510, extension number 4080.

 

Q: If an item has a BESB inventory number tag on it, can it be removed by the client?

 

A: Yes. Equipment in the possession of the client is owned by the client (unless it has been provided under a temporary loan agreement). Once the client owns the item(s), the state inventory tag is no longer relevant and can be removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Content Last Modified on 1/26/2011 5:05:53 PM