ACL/CMS Webinar 2/18: Bridging the Digital Divide for HCBS Beneficiaries (Part I)

February 5, 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 3:00 - 4:30 pm ET.

Register for the webinar.

This webinar was originally scheduled on 2/4 and rescheduled. You need to register for the 2/18 webinar to receive the new link to attend.  


The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) has left many older adults and people with disabilities grieving the loss of close relationships and a sense of community due to physical distancing orders, staffing shortages, and the closing of day programs. All this takes a considerable toll on their physical and mental well-being.

The transition to telemedicine and virtual services in place of in-person services has helped expand care to millions. However, without the skills, resources and supports to get online and participate in digital forums, many older adults and people with disabilities are more isolated than ever. This “digital divide” affects their ability to obtain life-saving health information, medical services, procure basic goods and services, address social determinants of health (employment, education, transportation), and stay connected. 

It is uncertain when in-person services will resume to pre-pandemic levels. Yet technology solutions may provide opportunities such as: socialization, the ability to address disability and language related barriers, tools to manage chronic diseases and promote behavioral change that can be implemented now and preserved after the end of the PHE to supplement and support in-person services.

This two part webinar series provides HCBS stakeholders a holistic framework to address 5 key areas:

Part I (February 18, 2021)

  1. Government leadership, public engagement, waivers, and policies
  2. Beneficiary and provider engagement, education, and supports 
  3. Addressing cultural and systemic barriers

Part II (March 2021)

  1. Internet: access and affordability
  2. Hardware (smart phones, tablets) / software (apps): affordability, setup, technical supports


February 2021 Panelists

  • Kim McCoy Wade, Director, California Department on Aging 
  • Emily Shea Tanis, Ph.D., FAAIDD, Co-Director, Policy and Advocacy, Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, University of Colorado 
  • Tannis Hargrove, Project Director, Healthy Community Living, RTC:RURAL, The Rural Institute, University of Montana 
  • Tom Kamber, Executive Director & Ex-Officio Board Member, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) & AARP Foundation Pilot “Connecting to Community”
  • Crystal Wren, Social Services Chief II, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Aging and Disability Services Division


The webinar will be recorded. If you are interested in the webinar and cannot attend, please register. We will send you the recording link via email.

About the Webinar Series 

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) host a monthly webinar series that invites subject matter experts and practitioners from across the home-and-community-based services (HCBS) continuum to share insights and best practices to develop high quality HCBS programs and services.  

Questions? Email

Last modified on 02/05/2021

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