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    ALS, the Next Challenge, Deadline, August 27th!

    The ALS Association needs your help to preserve Medicare coverage for speech generating devices (SGDs) and related eye-tracking technologies that enable people with ALS to utilize SGDs.

    Please contact your Senators and Representatives today and ask that they sign onto the SGD Dear Colleague letter that began circulating last week in the House of Representatives by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and John Tierney (D-MA) and in the Senate by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

    This year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have taken several different actions that deny people with ALS timely access to the SGDs that meet their specific medical needs. These actions fundamentally change long-standing coverage policy and significantly limit what technologies are available to people with ALS.

    Specifically, CMS has:

    • Prohibited coverage for SGDs that include non-speech technologies such as email, internet access and environmental controls;
    • Routinely begun to deny coverage for eye tracking; and
    • Implemented a “capped rental” payment system that requires people with ALS to first rent SGDs for a period of 13 months before owning the device. If a person is admitted to hospice, a hospital or a nursing facility during the rental period, Medicare payment for the SGD will cease.

    The ALS Association has been working with CMS, Members of Congress and other stakeholders for nearly a year to fight these policies; however, CMS has failed to make any changes and people with ALS could be forced to go without the SGDs they need.

    Therefore, please contact your Representative and Senators today! You can send an email to them directly from the Advocacy Action Center of The ALS Association’s website here: http://capwiz.com/alsa/home/. Urge them to sign the SGD Dear Colleague today and help give a voice to people with ALS who have been robbed of the ability to speak. The deadline for signing the Dear Colleague is August 27, so please contact Congress today!

    Additional information about the changes CMS has made can be found here.

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