Equipment and Modification Services

The Ministry’s Equipment and Modification Services provide free or subsidised equipment and modifications to people with disabilities.

Equipment and Modification Services (EMS) cover:

  • equipment
  • housing modifications
  • vehicle purchase and modifications.

You can find out about Equipment and Modification Services in the Your health section.

EMS principles

The Ministry funds equipment and modifications to support disabled people to live as independently and safely as possible.

The Ministry of Health is not always able to provide funding to meet all the needs identified by disabled people. To ensure that provision of services is affordable within defined budgets, service allocation can be evaluated against the following principles.

  1. They make an effective contribution towards helping disabled people to live, as far as possible, as others do in their own home and communities.
  2. They represent value for money both now and in the future.
  3. They are allocated fairly through a consistent, principled and equitable approach.
  4. They reflect a lifetime perspective by recognising that the services that are most appropriate for a person may change over time.

Manuals for providers and EMS assessors

The manuals for each of these services provide guidelines for Ministry of Health funding support for equipment and modifications for disabled people who are eligible to access these services.


Housing modifications

Vehicle purchase and modifications

Practice Guideline: Interface Between Needs Assessment and Service Coordination and Equipment and Modification Service Assessors and Providers September 2015

The Ministry of Health requires active engagement between Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) organisations, Equipment Management Services (EMS) Assessors and EMS Providers when considering complex or high-cost housing modifications and/or personal care equipment, or when an EMS solution is recommended to assist in managing challenging behavioural needs.

EMS for People with Challenging Behaviour

In 2015, the Ministry of Health reviewed the process when assessing for and recommending Ministry-funded EMS to support people with challenging behaviour. The revised process is detailed in the amended Practice Guideline, 2015.

Where an EMS Assessor identifies a solution that will reduce any potential harm and minimise long-term risk and where that solution is not used as a restraint, there is now an abbreviated pathway where the EMS Assessor can make an advice request for that EMS solution.

Where the person's identified behavioural need may result in restricting their access and/or freedom of movement and the EMS Assessor has identified an EMS solution that is a restraint the EMS Assessor must advise NASC of the identified need and the likely solution before continuing with the EMS assessment and advice request.

Please note that any EMS Assessor submitting service requests for people with challenging behaviour must have read and understood the Health and Disability Services (Restraint Minimisation and Safe Practice) Standards NZS8134.2:2008.

Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health

Therapy and Assistive Technology/Equipment Operational Protocols

The Therapy and Assistive Technology/Equipment Operational Protocols (Word, 5.3 MB), (PDF, 1.39 MB) outline funding responsibilities between agencies and the roles and responsibilities of service provision for occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech language therapists when providing assistive technology/equipment for children and young people with disabilities.

The Therapy and Assistive Technology/Equipment Operational Protocols consist of:

  • Part 1: Memorandum of Understanding – which demonstrates joint Ministry leadership and shared commitment to working together and continuing to provide quality services
  • Part 2: Operational Guideline – details the principles and expectations of the services including their respective roles and responsibilities of each agency
  • Part 3: Local Level Agreement Template – outlines how health and education services will work together to deliver quality services at the local level (eg, district level), including how people will work together, who the key players are and what is required of each party
  • Part 4: Glossary, FAQs, Asset Transfer Protocol 2006 and References.

The benefits of the Operational Protocols for children and young people and their family and whanau include:

  • timeliness when receiving therapy and/or assistive technology/equipment services
  • streamlined access to effective services
  • service continuity, particularly during the decision making process
  • quality services that adhere to best practice.

Equipment/Assistive Technology joint funding form and information sheet

Requests for joint funding by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health for high-cost equipment/assistive technology can be made when the equipment will support the person in their daily living as well as have specific features that support learning at school.

The Joint Funding Form (Word, 262 KB) and Information Sheet (Word, 565 KB) have been updated (December 2015) in order to provide structure for Equipment and Modification Services (EMS) and Ministry of Education assessors and ensure essential information is provided for the funding agencies. The form has been simplified to include essential information only. It continues to reflect the SETT (student, environment, tasks and tools) assessment process. Physical signatures are no longer required to avoid formatting issues. The information sheet now includes a diagram of the Joint Funding Process.

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