The Steve Gleason Act of 2017 (S. 1132)


In July of  2015, President Obama officially signed The Steve Gleason Act. The law helps protects patient access to medically necessary Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) for individuals with communication disabilities, including ALS, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries, and Rett Syndrome. Specifically, the law removes SGDs from the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment (DME) payment category as a “Capped Rental” and provides coverage of eye-tracking technology for patients who rely on this method to access and operate covered SGDs. These amendments were created to be effective October 1, 2015 through October 1, 2018. The Steve Gleason Act of 2017 makes permanent the changes enacted by the original Steve Gleason Act.


This bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Bill Cassidy [R-LA] in May of 2017, and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Key Terms:

Speech Generating Devices (SGDs)systems used to supplement or replace speech or writing for individuals with severe speech impairments, enabling them to verbally communicate.

Supporting Organizations:

Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals


Aging Life Care Association

Alliance for Retired Americans

ALS Association

ALS of Michigan

American Association on Health & Disability

American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine

American Council of the Blind

American Occupational Therapy Association

American Society on Aging

American Speech and Hearing Association

American Therapeutic Recreation Association

Answer ALS Foundation

Assistive Technology Industry Association

Assistive Technology Law Center

Association of Assistive Technology

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Boston Children’s Hospital Augmentative Communications Program

Brain Injury Association of America

California Health Advocates

Center for Medicare Advocacy

Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County

Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Clinician Task Force

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

Compassionate Care ALS

Disability Law Project of Vermont Legal Aid

Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts

Disability Rights Oregon


Girl Power 2 Cure

Justice in Aging

Lakeshore Foundation

Legal Council for Health Justice

Long Term Care Community Coalition

Medicare Rights Center

National Association for Home Care and Hospice

National Association of Elder Law Attorneys

National Association of State Head Injury Administrators

National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

National Disability Rights Network

National Health Law Program

National MS Society

Northwest Health Law Advocates

Not Dead Yet

Perkins School for the Blind

Public Justice Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society


Southern Disability Law Center

Special Needs Alliance

Talk To Me Technologies

Team Gleason

The ARC of the United States

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Tobii DynaVox

United Cerebral Palsy

United Spinal Association

United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Volunteers of Legal Service

Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement





Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]

King, Angus S., Jr. [I-ME]

Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]

Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]

Tester, Jon [D-MT]