Where do I begin?
In a province as vast and diverse as Ontario, ensuring accessibility for all residents is a top priority. For individuals with mobility challenges, acquiring the right mobility device is crucial to maintaining independence and a participatory lifestyle. Navigating the process of obtaining a mobility device may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right information and guidance, it can be a smooth journey.
In this post, we'll outline the essential steps to help you acquire a mobility device in Ontario.
The first and most crucial step is to consult with a healthcare professional. This could be your family doctor, a physiotherapist #CPO, or an occupational therapist #CAOT. They will assess your mobility needs, consider your lifestyle, and recommend the most suitable mobility device for you. This assessment is essential in determining whether you require a wheelchair, walker, scooter, or another type of assistive device.
There are both private and public health occupational and physiotherapists you can seek out for an assessment or be referred to by a family physician. If applying for mobility equipment under provincial funding, the therapist MUST be registered with the Assistive Devices Program. Get the list directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the therapist receives the referral or, for private
therapists, payment, an assessment at home, in an LTC, or school will be
completed to determine the type of mobility device you need. In Ontario, the
Assistive Devices Program (ADP) plays a crucial role in assisting with the
costs of mobility devices. The prescription is a prerequisite for applying for
funding through ADP, which covers a portion (75%) of the cost of eligible devices.
A special consideration: You are able to purchase mobility
equipment WITHOUT a prescription or a referral; however, the purchase would be 100%
out of pocket and may impact your ability to be reimbursed if you are going
through 3rd party insurance.
After the initial assessment, it's time to choose a vendor to supply your mobility device. Ensure that the vendor is registered with the ADP and has experience in providing quality products. You can ask for recommendations from your healthcare professional or contact the ADP for a list of approved vendors. Ultimately, the decision of which vendor you choose is completely up to you. Therapists and public funding agencies are all neutral parties in the selection process.
Special consideration: If you are eligible for the CEP
Central Equipment Pool program through ADP, a government contract is
assigned to one vendor. This same vendor MUST service any equipment that was funded
through the CEP program and cannot be touched by Good Access. The Good Access Company
DOES NOT hold the CEP contract. If you need a complex rehab power chair and do
not want to go through ADP’s CEP program, you are able to choose to work with
any other ADP registered vendor.
Long-Term Care Facilities: A few long-term care facilities do
have contracts with vendors in the city; however, this is a recommendation from
the facility based on the service provided by the vendor's technicians. You are
still able to choose your vendor of choice, and service to your equipment will
still be available from the vendor you purchased with.
With your therapist and chosen vendor in hand, it's time to
complete the ADP application. The application form is available on the ADP
website, and the vendor will submit it online. It is up to the therapist
and vendor to ensure that you sign and understand the document, including your
prescription and any additional information requested by ADP.
After submitting your application, you'll need to wait for
ADP to process it. The approval takes approximately two weeks,
dependent on the date of submission. Once approved, ADP will send your
therapist and vendor an authorization letter outlining the amount they will
contribute towards your mobility device.
During this time, you may be provided with a loaner chair or rental equipment while you wait for your ordered equipment and approval to arrive.
Once the vendor has received the ADP authorization letter, the
order will be placed. They will coordinate with ADP to ensure the approved
funding is applied to your purchase. The client portion (25%) will be required if you do not qualify for additional funding
(ODSP). Once the equipment arrives, the vendor makes an appointment with you
and the therapist to dispense. There are some exceptions where the therapist
will not need to attend the dispense.
Conclusion: Acquiring a mobility device in Ontario involves a series of well-defined steps, from consultation with healthcare professionals to securing funding through the ADP and finally obtaining the device from an approved vendor. By following this guide, individuals with mobility challenges can navigate the process smoothly, ensuring they receive the right assistance to enhance their quality of life.