Today, the Senate passed the Steve Gleason Act (S. 984), to help restore a person’s ability to upgrade their speech generating device (SGD) and allow people with ALS to access email, the internet and environmental controls. The bill would also allow people with ALS can keep their SGD if they are admitted to a hospital, nursing facility or hospice.
The legislation will now head to the House of Representatives where the bill has been introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The ALS Association will continue to work with people with ALS and others to pass it as soon as possible. Those interested in getting involved in this effort are encouraged to sign up here to become and advocate. The Association will let you know when your outreach can make the most difference.
The Association would like to thank Steve Gleason, former professional football player who is now battling ALS, and Team Gleason, for helping to advance this important cause as well as the American Speech Hearing Association (ASHA) and ITEM Coalition, and SGD manufacturers, including Tobii Dynavox.
Additionally, lawmakers that deserve special recognition for their commitment to championing access to SGDs include Senator David Vitter (R-LA), along with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Angus King (I-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
While their collective efforts made the bill a priority in the Senate, it was individuals in the ALS community who brought these important issues to the forefront of our nation’s lawmakers.