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Medicare Coverage of Speech Generating Devices

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued Medlearn Matters article # MM9281, entitled: Update to Pub. 100-03, National Coverage Determination Manual, Chapter 1, Part 1, Section 50.1 Speech Generating Device.   As a general rule, the CMS definition of a speech generating device (SGD) includes devices or software that generate speech and are used solely by the individual who has a severe speech impairment. The speech may be generated using one of the following methods:

-          Digitized audible/verbal speech output, using prerecorded messages;

-          Synthesized audible/verbal speech output which requires message formulation by spelling and device access by physical contact with the device-direct selection techniques;

-          Synthesized audible/verbal speech output which permits multiple methods of message formulation and multiple methods of device access; or

-          Software that allows a computer or other electronic device to generate audible/verbal speech.

Providers should keep in mind that if the device or software can be used for other general purposes or by other individuals who do not have a severe speech impairment in will likely not qualify for Medicare coverage.  For complete details, please refer to the article linked above.

Contact: Patrick Cucinelli, pcucinelli@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8827