<0> Tobii Dynavox Applauds Senate Step Forward on 'The Steve Gleason Act of 2015' </0>
The bill seeks to improve Medicare regulations in order to protect patient access to medically necessary speech generating devices (SGDs) for those individuals with communication disabilities, including patients living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cerebral palsy and Rett syndrome. The language referenced by the budget amendment was introduced in the Senate as S. 768 by Sen. Vitter of Louisiana, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Angus King of Maine, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. A companion bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 628 by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La).
By unanimously including the language in the Senate budget resolution, the Senate took a step further in showing support for the community in need of communications assistive technology and in pushing for enactment of the legislation.
“Patients who utilize these devices should not live in fear that their ability to communicate could be taken away from them,” said Tara Rudnicki, president of Tobii Dynavox North American market. “The Senate adoption of the budget amendment for speech generating devices is another show of support that we hope will result in full enactment of the legislation.”
Specifically, The Steve Gleason Act aims to protect beneficiaries by achieving two goals:
Current Tobii Dynavox users include former NFL pro footballer Steve Gleason 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 legislation has already been endorsed by Team FrateTrain (Pete Frates’ advocacy organization), ALS Association, American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), Center for Medicare Advocacy, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), United Spinal Association and Team Gleason (Steve Gleason’s advocacy organization), as well as by Tobii Dynavox.
In addition to its support for the bill as part of its effort to ensure patient access to these important devices, Tobii Dynavox plans to continue its dialogue with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that the language of the Medicare National Coverage Determination (NCD) for SGDs allows patients to utilize the full functionality of their devices.
For more information about S. 768 and H.R. 628 and what you can do to help, please visit .
Tobii Dynavox, part of the Tobii Group, is the leading provider of touch- and eye-tracking-based assistive technology hardware and software for those with communication and mobility impairments. Tobii Dynavox has helped tens of thousands of individuals with disabilities such as aphasia, autism, cerebral palsy, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), muscular dystrophy, Rett syndrome and spinal cord injury lead fuller and richer lives. For over three decades, the company has stood at the forefront of assistive technology and special education and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible for delivering the most advanced, effective and empowering communication and computer access tools available. For more information, please visit .