On April 26, 2000 we issued a Decision Memorandum on Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices. In this decision memo, we explained that we were removing our current non-coverage determination of AACs found in the Coverage Issues Manual 60-9, which was based on Section 1861(n) of the Social Security Act and AAC devices will now be classified as durable medical equipment and be covered by the Medicare program. Subsequently, we issued instructions to our contractors implementing this change. Medicare claims processing carriers will make medical necessity determinations on all claims submitted with dates of service on or after January 1, 2001.
In our decision memorandum we also asked for additional information from the experts in the field to provide scientific proof or clinical rationale that might support the use of AACs for an appropriate and clearly defined population. We have continued to receive information on the use of speech generating devices. At this time, we will continue to review this issue but do not plan to issue a national coverage policy. We will continue to monitor utilization and effectiveness of the regional policy to determine if and when a national policy would be appropriate.