Following the reopening of the federal government on January 23, 2018, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Medicare Rights Center issued a joint statement highlighting how Congress has so far failed to address several issues critical to people with Medicare. Specifically, our organizations urged lawmakers to act on the harmful Medicare outpatient therapy caps, … Read more

Making permanent the law that provides access to Speech Generating Devices for Medicare beneficiaries The Bill was introduced in the Senate (S.1132) and House (H.R.2465) in May 2017. In the House, H.R. 2465 was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. On May 19th, the Bill was referred by … Read more

Legislation would make the Steve Gleason Act of 2015, which increased access to speech generating devices for people with degenerative diseases, permanent. On May 16, 2017, Representatives John Larson (D-CT), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act, which builds upon the successes … Read more

Over the past week, problems with Medicare coverage of Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) have been favorably addressed through both final Administrative and Congressional action. Prior to these actions, Medicare only covered SGDs to generate face-to-face speech, excluding other forms of communication such as by email, phone or text.  Medicare had also changed the payment category … Read more

July 16, 2015 WASHINGTON, DC – Steve Gleason, former NFL standout athlete for the New Orleans Saints, has redefined what it means to be a hero. Diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2011, Steve’s mind is unaffected by the disease, but he can no longer move any part of his … Read more

Beneficiaries who seek Medicare coverage for expanded types and features of Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) have reason to be optimistic.  Electronic devices that meet the definition of a Speech Generating Device will be coverable.  This could include a tablet, computer, or smart phone. On April 29, 2015 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) … Read more

(Steve Gleason, on living with ALS and utilizing a speech generating device.) The Steve Gleason Act of 2015, recently introduced in the House and the Senate, is a good first step toward ensuring continuous Medicare coverage for individuals who qualify for Durable Medical Equipment (DME) serving as speech generating devices (SGD) and for accessories that … Read more

CMS Rescinds Restrictive Policy and Will Reconsider Technological Advances CMS announced yesterday that it has begun the process of updating its Medicare coverage policy for Speech Generating Devices (SGDs). A new SGD National Coverage Determination (NCD) is expected to be completed by July 31, 2015.  While CMS considers a new coverage rule for SGDs, it … Read more

SGD@MedicareAdvocacy.org CMS is currently reviewing its SGD policies. We are hopeful that CMS will revise these policies to allow SGD users to keep their speech when they’re admitted into health care facilities and be able to use their SGDs to communicate with the outside world. However, in the event CMS does not reach an acceptable … Read more

1.  MEDICARE’S COVERAGE OF CAPPED RENTAL ITEMS DURING PART A INSTITUTIONAL STAYS: LOSING ACCESS TO SPEECH GENERATING DEVICES (SGDs) CMS Changes Its Coverage of Speech Generating Devices Through a new interpretation of longstanding rules, CMS is currently leading an outright attack on coverage for Speech Generating Devices (SGDs).  SGDs are typically tablet-like units that allow … Read more

Technology can help the most vulnerable among us live with more capabilities than we would have considered possible, even a few short years ago.  Rather than encourage technological advances that promote independence and safety, however, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reducing access to technology in an ill-conceived effort to control short-term … Read more