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Sources of payment for assistive technology: findings from a national survey of persons with disabilities.

Assistive technology : the official journal of RESNA

United States Department of Veterans Affairs, United States, Socioeconomic Factors, utilization, economics, classification, Self-Help Devices, Rehabilitation, Vocational, Medicare, Medicaid, Male, Insurance, Health, Humans, Health Care Surveys, Financing, Personal, Female, statistics & numerical data, Disabled Persons

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      This article provides an overview of who pays for the most commonly used assistive technology devices, special adaptations, and environmental accommodations by persons with disabilities in the United States. The latest findings from the 2001 survey of Use and Need of Assistive Technology and Information Technology by Persons With Disabilities in the United States conducted by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, and the University of Michigan will be presented and compared to findings from earlier research and reviews of the literature. A modified discriminant function analysis was performed to determine the interaction between the source of payment for assistive technology used by persons with disabilities. In the sample of 1,414 such persons, 901 were found to use some form of assistive technology in their daily lives. Ten distinct sources of payment were specified. Respondents were able to mention up to three sources of payment for each example of assistive technology used. A total of 1,877 sources were mentioned. Overall, the most mentioned payment source was self or other family member in household, accounting for nearly 40% of all sources mentioned. The variables tested were found to have varying levels of interactive potency. Occupational status, education level, severity of impairment, opinion as to the effectiveness of assistive technology, and personal income were significant, whereas age, family income, opinion as to improvement over the past decade, and race were statistically unrelated to source of payment. From the perspective of relative discrimination on the basis of payment source, Medicare stands as the lone significant discriminant source of payment. The authors offer a summary and conclusion based on an integrated view of all available sources of information about payment.

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