Tobii Dynavox, the global leader in assistive technology for those with communication disabilities, sets in motion introduction of The Steve Gleason Act of 2016 in the U.S. Senate. The Steve Gleason Act of 2016 builds upon the improvements in Medicare regulations to protect patient access to medically necessary Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) for individuals with communication disabilities, including ALS, cerebral palsy, and Rett syndrome. The bill was introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn).
Specifically, this bill aims to protect medically fragile beneficiaries by permanently implementing the provision of the Steve Gleason Act of 2015 that removed SGDs from the “Capped Rental” category. Under the previous legislation, SGDs were removed from the Capped Rental payment category and were set to sun-set by October 1, 2018. The Steve Gleason Act of 2016 would make that provision permanent. In April 2014, Medicare categorized SGDs as “Capped Rental” which prohibited payments for devices and jeopardized the ability to communicate when patients require hospital, nursing facility or hospice care. By revoking the “Capped Rental” designation, Medicare gives patients ownership of the SGD and therefore continued access to the device when in a hospital, nursing facility, or hospice.
“Tobii Dynavox has been committed to continuing its work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and members of Congress to ensure access after October 1, 2018,” said Tara Rudnicki, the president of Tobii Dynavox’s North American Market Unit. “We applaud Sen. Vitter’s and Sen. Klobuchar’s commitment to making this provision permanent, and we hope this can be accomplished sooner rather than later in order to put patients and families at ease by letting them know that this protection will not lapse.”
Tobii Dynavox urges everyone to contact their Senators to encourage them to support and co-sponsor the bill urging its swift passage.
Current Tobii Dynavox users include former NFL pro footballer Steve Gleason, for whom this legislation is named, and Boston College Baseball’s Pete Frates, originator of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, both of whom continue to fight for the rights of all individuals with communication disabilities through their advocacy groups, Team Gleason and Team FrateTrain, respectively.
The initial efforts that resulted in the introduction and passage of the original Steve Gleason Act were spearheaded by a coalition representing all stakeholders for SGD access including The National ALS Association, American Speech Hearing-Language Association (ASHA), The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA), Team Gleason, Team FrateTrain and Tobii Dynavox. To learn more about the Steve Gleason Act, please visit www.tobiidynavox.com/stevegleasonact.
Tobii is the global leader in eye tracking. Our vision is a world where all technology works in harmony with natural human behavior. Tobii operates through three business units: Tobii Dynavox makes specially designed devices that are controlled by eye movement or touch screens for use by people with special needs due to spinal cord injuries, CP, ALS or other medical conditions. Tobii Pro develops and sells eye-tracking equipment and services used today by more than 3,000 companies and 2,000 research institutions, including all of the world’s 50 highest ranked universities. Tobii Tech further develops Tobii’s technology for new volume markets, such as computer games, personal computers, virtual reality and vehicles. Tobii is headquartered in Sweden and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm (TOBII). The group has over 700 employees. For more information: www.tobii.com.