The AAC Institute and other professional and consumer organizations, along with AAC companies are requesting that the White House, Congress, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) exempt Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) from all rental requirements. The organizations are also asking that SGDs be removed from the capped rental rule that takes effect April 1.

On its website, the AAC Institute urges visitors to sign the petition at Change.Org by going to to support the effort to change the capped rental rule and other AAC issues that it says will have a negative impact on access to SGDs.

The institute adds on its site that individuals can participate in the “Ask me why I’m not talking” day on April 1 and continuing the first day of every month until CMS removes SGDs from the capped rule. To participate, individuals can wear an “Ask me why I’m not talking” button and download the message about the CMS capped rental rule to share with others.

The button signifies a show of solidarity for older adults and Medicare beneficiaries impacted by the CMS capped rental rule that included SGDs. According to the ACC Institute’s website, the CMS capped rental rule significantly changes the funding of personal SGDs and will disrupt access to SGDs, services, and supports for more than 7 million beneficiaries who have a risk for a disabling condition that results in loss of speech. These conditions include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aphasia, cerebral palsy (CP), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other severe communication disorders.

SGDs, such as voice-output computer-based technology, are reportedly considered durable medical equipment (DME) by CMS, like hospital beds, pressure cuffs, walkers, bi-pap machines to support breathing, and other items. The site notes that an SGD is matched and customized specific to an individual’s abilities, needs, activities, daily environments, and personal preferences.

The site says the capped rule takes away the guarantee that a Medicare beneficiary will own their own SGD that has been personalized to meet their unique communication needs, particularly since they should be able to “say what they want to say using their own SGD” when major life decisions or medical directives are being made.

The ACC Institute is a not-for-profit, charitable organization that emphasizes it commitment to the most effective communication for individuals who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

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Source: ACC Institute