New CMS Rules for 2013 Mandate Face-to-Face Visit for SGDs

Dec 31, 2012 | by Michele Hart-Henry
Patients’ speech conditions must be documented by physician prior to purchase 

In recent months, we’ve been monitoring potential changes to Medicare’s requirements for covering speech-generating devices (SGDs).

In November, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the governing body responsible for Medicare, issued its 2013 fee schedule, which includes changes to its policies around durable medical equipment (DME), including SGDs.

An important change to the medical policy is a requirement that all patients considering an SGD have a face-to-face evaluation by their physicians for their language disorders within six months prior to the purchase of a device.

This change, as with many of the changes introduced in recent years by Medicare, may be confusing for both patients and Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). Here is our understanding of the change and our response to it. We hope that SLPs will use this as a starting point to further their own understanding and to help patients navigate this oftentimes-overwhelming landscape.

For more information on the final rule read ASHA’s analysis of the 2013 Fee Schedule.