Clinical UM Guideline
|Subject:||Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices/Speech Generating Devices (SGD)|
|Guideline #:||CG-DME-07||Current Effective Date:||10/06/2015|
|Status:||Reviewed||Last Review Date:||08/06/2015|
This document addresses augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and speech generating devices (SGD).
AAC and SGD devices are aids to improve the functional communication needs of individuals with severe speech impairment or absent speech. Associated functional disabilities may limit an individual's ability to use alternative natural methods of communication such as writing notes, using sign language, or even to manipulate a low tech augmentative communication system.
Augmentative and alternative communication and speech generating devices and systems are considered medically necessary when all of the following criteria 1 through 3 are met, and when applicable, criteria 4 or 5 are met:
*Refer to Discussion/General Information section of the clinical guideline for information on high technology and low technology devices.
Accessories are considered medically necessary if criteria for the base device are met and the medical necessity for each accessory is clearly documented in the formal evaluation by the speech language pathologist. For any subsequent upgrade of equipment or accessories to a previously issued device, information regarding the functional benefit to the individual of the upgrade compared to the initially provided device must be submitted to demonstrate medical necessity.
When the above criteria 1 through 3 are met, and when applicable, criteria 4 or 5 are met, specific communication software for dedicated speech generating devices is considered medically necessary.
Not Medically Necessary:
Augmentative communication devices and speech generating devices/systems are considered not medically necessary if the above criteria are not met or if they are not primarily and customarily used to serve a medical purpose.
The following are considered not medically necessary:
The following codes for treatments and procedures applicable to this document are included below for informational purposes. Inclusion or exclusion of a procedure, diagnosis or device code(s) does not constitute or imply member coverage or provider reimbursement policy. Please refer to the member's contract benefits in effect at the time of service to determine coverage or non-coverage of these services as it applies to an individual member.
|E1902||Communication board, non-electronic augmentative or alternative communication device|
|E2351||Power wheelchair accessory, electronic interface to operate speech generating device using power wheelchair control interface|
|E2500||Speech generating device, digitized speech, using prerecorded messages, less than or equal to 8 minutes recording time|
|E2502||Speech generating device, digitized speech, using prerecorded messages, greater than 8 minutes but less than or equal to 20 minutes recording time|
|E2504||Speech generating device, digitized speech, using prerecorded messages, greater than 20 minutes but less than or equal to 40 minutes recording time|
|E2506||Speech generating device, digitized speech, using prerecorded messages, greater than 40 minutes recording time|
|E2508||Speech generating device, synthesized speech, requiring message formulation by spelling and access by physical contact with the device|
|E2510||Speech generating device, synthesized speech, permitting multiple methods of message formulation and multiple methods of device access|
|Artificial larynx and accessories|
|L8500||Artificial larynx, any type|
|L8501||Tracheostomy speaking valve|
|L8507||Tracheo-esophageal voice prosthesis, patient inserted, any type, each|
|L8509||Tracheo-esophageal voice prosthesis, inserted by a licensed health care provider, any type|
|ICD-10 Diagnosis||[For dates of service on or after10/01/2015]|
|ICD-9 Diagnosis||[For dates of service prior to 10/01/2015]|
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices/speech generating devices (SGD) are speech aids to provide individuals with severe speech impairment or absent speech, the ability to meet their functional communication needs. Etiologies of speech impairment in children may include cerebral palsy, intellectual/developmental disorder, autism-like disorders and other genetic or speech disorders. Etiologies in adults may include stroke, traumatic brain injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease and head and neck cancers among others. There may be associated functional disabilities that also limit the individual's ability to use alternative natural methods of communication such as writing notes, using sign language, or even to manipulate a low tech augmentative communication system.
There are numerous communication devices currently available from multiple manufacturers. Low technology, non-electronic AAC devices include boards that use letters, words, phrases, pictures and/or symbols (communication boards), mini boards, schedule boards, and conversation books. They may be purchased, homemade, or developed by the speech therapist.
High technology devices are electronic, generally SGDs, and usually computer-based. Digitized speech generating devices, sometimes referred to as devices with "whole message" speech output use words or phrases that have been recorded by an individual other than the SGD user for playback upon command of the SGD user. The time available for pre-recorded messages varies. Synthesized speech is a technology that translates a user's input into device-generated speech using algorithms representing linguistic rules. Users of synthesized SGDs are not limited to pre-recorded messages, but instead can independently create messages as their communication needs dictate. Some SGDs require a message formulation by spelling, and access by physical contact with a keyboard, touch screen, or other display containing letters. Speech generating software programs enable a laptop computer, desktop computer, or personal digital assistant (PDA) to function as an SGD.
A systematic review by Rispoli and colleagues (2010) identified 35 studies with a total of 86 participants with developmental disabilities. The review examined the following features for the studies: (a) participant characteristics, (b) SGD function, (c) SGD characteristics, (d) intervention procedures, (e) intervention results and (f) certainty of evidence. There were 17 different devices included in the studies. Positive outcomes (e.g., target communication skills improved for all participants) were reported in 86% (n=30) of studies. Fifty-four percent of the positive studies were categorized as providing conclusive evidence. Mixed outcomes (e.g., some participants improved and others did not improve target communication skills) were reported in 14% (n=5) of studies. The authors concluded the data from articles was "promising due to the large number of conclusive studies and the replication of intervention approaches."
Data supporting the use of SGDs in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) consists primarily of case reports and case series. Ganz and colleagues (2012) reported results of a meta-analysis which included 24 studies on 58 individuals ranging in age from preschool to over 15 years of age who had developmental delays and autism. The involved study interventions included Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), picture-based systems other than PECS, and SGDs. The overall effect of PECS and SGD were calculated with improvement rate differences (IRD) equal to 0.99 in communication. Other picture-based AAC therapies had modest IRD (0.61). The authors concluded although other behavior categories (social skills, challenging skills and academics) were also positively impacted, the greatest impact was on communication skills. Additional research needs to investigate the most effective type of intervention for targeted outcomes in individuals with developmental delays and ASD.
In 2014, data from a meta-analysis including 35 studies with a total of 81 participants with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and individuals with ASD and intellectual/developmental disorders (IDD) were reported by Gantz and colleagues. The study analyzed if the effectiveness of PECS, SGDs and other picture-based AAC were moderated by the characteristics of the individuals who utilized the devices. Although SGDs were significantly more effective for individuals with ASD without any comorbid disability and PECS were more effective for individuals with ASD and IDD, these conclusions were based on subsets consisting of fewer studies (9 studies and 5 studies, respectively). The use of PECS and SGDs demonstrated improvement in speech production for very young children, but not for elementary-age or older individuals as well as older participants. The authors noted the limitations of the meta-analyses included the use of single-case research studies and small numbers of studies that investigated the specific comorbid disabilities and the impact on effectiveness of SGDs. The ongoing research of SGDs as a specific intervention for individuals with ASD was recommended.
An extra-oral electrolarynx type device (primarily for use post-laryngectomy) consists of a hand-held sound generator which transmits sound waves through the skin and muscle of the neck, vibrating the air column in the vocal tract and allowing for verbal communication. An intra-oral electrolarynx type device is also available, consisting of a handheld control unit transmitting radio waves to an intra-oral radio control circuit which, together with a loudspeaker, is mounted to a denture or orthodontic retainer. It is claimed to produce a more natural sounding voice than other technologies.
Digitalized speech: Devices with "whole message" speech output utilize words or phrases recorded by another individual.
Laryngectomy: Surgical removal of the voice box.
Speech disorder: A condition affecting the ability to produce normal speech may affect articulation (phonetic or phonological disorders); fluency (stuttering or cluttering); and/or voice (tone, pitch, volume, or speed); most speech disorders have their roots in the muscles of the mouth and/or mouth movements.
Speech language pathologist: Another title for a Speech Therapist.
Synthesized speech: A technology that translates a user's input into device-generated speech.
Peer Reviewed Publications:
Government Agency, Medical Society, and Other Authoritative Publications:
|Websites for Additional Information|
|Reviewed||08/06/2015||Medical Policy & Technology Assessment Committee (MPTAC) review. Updated References and Websites.|
|Revised||08/14/2014||MPTAC review. Clarified medically necessary criterion regarding an evaluation by the physician and licensed speech language pathologist. Updated References and Websites.|
|Reviewed||08/08/2013||MPTAC review. Updated References. Added Websites for Additional Information section.|
|Revised||08/09/2012||MPTAC review. Clarified not medically necessary statement. Updated Coding, Discussion/General Information, and References.|
|01/01/2012||Updated Coding section with 01/01/2012 CPT changes.|
|Reviewed||08/18/2011||MPTAC review. Updated Coding and References.|
|Reviewed||08/19/2010||MPTAC review. Updated References.|
|Reviewed||08/27/2009||MPTAC review. Removed Place of Service Section.|
|Reviewed||08/28/2008||MPTAC review. Formatting corrected in medical necessity section. Separated software criteria and moved into the medical necessity section. Updated coding section with 10/01/2008 ICD-9 changes.|
|Reviewed||08/23/2007||MPTAC review. Formatting corrected in medical necessity section. Updated definitions and references.|
|11/22/2005||Added reference for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – National Coverage Determination (NCD).|
|Reviewed||09/22/2005||MPTAC review. Revision based on Pre-merger Anthem and Pre-merger WellPoint Harmonization.|
Last Review Date
|Anthem West: DME.220||Speech Generating Devices|
|Anthem CT||Durable Medical Equipment Summary of Coverage Criteria Guidelines|
|WellPoint Health Networks, Inc.|
|9.03.05||Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices/Speech Generating Devices (SGD)|