U.S. Congress approves bill to make it easier for people with communication disabilities to receive funding for assistive technology

Tobii Group
Press release

Stockholm, July 16, 2015 – U.S. Congress has passed a new bill called The Steve Gleason Act that improves the possibility for people with communication disabilities to receive public funding of speech-generating devices (SGDs) through Medicare. President Obama’s subsequent signing of the bill is expected to take place shortly. For Tobii Dynavox, which develops and sells both eye tracking and touchscreen-based assistive technology solutions, the new bill is likely to introduce more sales.

“Congressional passage and the subsequent signing by President Obama of The Steve Gleason Act is a victory for Medicare patients who rely on assistive technology to communicate with their loved ones and caregivers,” said Tara Rudnicki, the president of Tobii Dynavox’s North American Market Unit. “We look forward to a swift implementation of the legislation to ensure that patients who need this technology are able to have and keep their voices.”

About The Steve Gleason Act of 2015

Specifically, this bill aims to protect medically fragile beneficiaries by achieving two goals:

  • Removing SGDs from the “capped rental” category. Capped rental means that funding via Medicare is paid over a 13-month period instead of as a one-time amount. For patients, this has meant that they have lost access to SGDs and thereby the ability to communicate when requiring hospital, nursing facility or hospice care. The new bill gives patients access to the device, regardless of where they are.
  • Ensuring Medicare coverage of eye-tracking products. Over the past year, many Medicare beneficiaries who rely on eye-tracking technology to access their communication devices in order to communicate have been denied coverage for the technology. This new provision ensures that eye tracking technology is covered for individuals with a broad spectrum of needs and conditions, including ALS, cerebral palsy, or Rett syndrome.

Tobii Dynavox is one of several organizations who have collaborated to ensure the passing of the bill, which is named after former NFL pro footballer Steve Gleason who has ALS and uses Tobii Dynavox products to communicate.

Tobii discloses this information pursuant to the Swedish Securities Market Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instruments Trading Act. The information was released for publication on July 16, 2015 at 00:10 a.m. CET.  



Media contact

Sara Hyléen, Corporate Communications Director of Tobii, tel: 46 70 9161641, email: sara.hyleen (@) tobii.com

About Tobii

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 computers 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 2,000 companies and 1,500 research institutions, including 49 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 and vehicles. Tobii is headquartered in Sweden and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm (TOBII). The group has approximately 600 employees. For more information, please visit www.tobii.com