Medicare plans to stop approving purchase of speech devices … electronic machines that generate speech for people who can’t speak due to a disability … for people in health care facilities like nursing homes. Picture Stephen Hawking with his voice synthesizer.
The rationale, it seems, is that such facilities provide total care, so it’s less important for the patient to be able to communicate.
The same rationale use to be used … may still for all I know … to refuse purchase of electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters for people in nursing homes and other institutions. Someone in such a facility doesn’t need to be mobile in an institutional setting, because the institution does everything for them.
In both cases, this is a twisted rationale only a penny-pinching bureaucrat could come up with. I’m not knocking penny-pinching bureaucrats. It’s not horrible for someone to ASK whether these devices are still necessary for people in medical facilities. The problem is that other people with some knowledge of health care and disability (including disability rights) should answer that yes, they are necessary. In fact, they may be more necessary since even the “best” institutions tend to curtail patient mobility and healthy activity, and communication is the patient’s best protection from neglect, abuse, or medical error.
Let me say it again … it’s fine to question what some might see as “sacred cows”. But the accountants need to sit down and shut up when the items they want to skimp on are found to be, in fact, vital.
Click the link above to write to your Members of Congress.
Disability life, ideas, identity, culture, commentary, and politics.