Subsidy funding is available under the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS) to support eligible Queenslanders who require a communication aid.
A waiting list for Communication Aids is currently in place.
Current demand for communication aids has far exceeded the resources available, necessitating the need for a waiting list to be put in place. At this stage, the waiting list will be in place until the end of the financial year, but possibly longer, subject to the applications received. Applications where orders have already been placed with suppliers for equipment will not be affected. If equipment has not yet been ordered through MASS, the application will be placed on the waiting list.
MASS has also made changes to the subsidy levels available for speech generating devices. The increase in demand, in combination with the issue of full funding of equipment, has required MASS to implement the following changes to subsidy levels:
- Speech generating Devices - $7,000 One subsidy will be available of $7,000. The $10,000 subsidy for high needs has been moved in line with the one subsidy level.
- Eye Gaze devices - $4,500
- Mounting systems - $1,000
The new subsidy levels came into effect from 1/3/2017.
- Artificial larynges
- Speech generating devices
- Voice amplification devices
- Communication software that allows a client to communicate with voice output using displays of symbols, words, a keyboard or a combination of these
- Approved accessories for communication aids such as batteries, charger, carry case, switchskins/moisture guards, keyguards, basic accessing devices/switches, microphones
- Specialised accessories required to access a speech generating device, such as wheelchair mounting systems, switch mounts, and specialised switches/accessing devices
MASS does not subsidise
- software programs for the sole purpose of producing AAC resources
- mobile internet devices (eg. iPads) or applications for mobile internet devices
- laptop or desktop computers
- voice prostheses
- low-tech communication aids.
Funding for some of these items may be available through the Community Aids Equipment and Assistive Technology Initiative (CAEATI).
All speech pathologists in Queensland are eligible prescribers for MASS communication aids.
How to prescribe
To ensure the most suitable communication aid is prescribed, you must trial the equipment adequately. This applies to all types of communication devices – artificial larynges, voice amplification devices, communication software and speech generating devices.
For Speech Generating Devices, this should involve at least two trials over a two to four week period with the applicant, family members and the applicant’s team. This allows you to make an informed decision about the most suitable device for the applicant’s language, communication and access needs. Prescribers can use the Communication Aids Trial Information and Proforma Form (PDF, 202kB) This is NOT an application form, but can be submitted to support the application. It can assist in documenting:
- the applicant’s success in communicating messages
- ease of access and set up of additional equipment
- capacity to meet changing needs now and in the future
- suitability in a range of environments eg. home environment, portability, volume
- suitability of communication partners
- applicant preferences
- ability of family and team to use, support and maintain the device and any accessories.
To access an aid to trial, prescribers need to contact commercial suppliers, below. For advice, please contact the MASS Principal Communication Aids Advisor
Once a suitable device has been selected, work with the client to complete the relevant application forms for the type of equipment requested. Specific eligibility, application and documentation requirements are provided in both the MASS General Guidelines (PDF, 474kB) and specific application guidelines for the type of aid.
MASS expects that communication aids will last a minimum of five years. The device should not need to be replaced within this time unless the client’s condition changes and they need a different device.
Application guidelines (including current subsidy amounts)
- Application Guidelines for Artificial Larynges (PDF, 248kB)
- Application Guidelines for Communication Software (PDF, 242kB)
- Application Guidelines for Speech Generating Devices (PDF, 262kB)
- Application Guidelines for Voice Amplification Devices (PDF, 245kB)
- MASS 21 - Communication Aids Application Form (PDF, 457kB) (to be completed by all applicants)
- Communication Aids Trial Information Form (PDF, 202kB)
Select one of the following to suit the type of aid requesting:
- MASS 21 - Artificial Larynx Application Form (PDF, 367KB)
- MASS 21 - Communication Software Application Form (PDF, 442KB)
- MASS 21 - Speech Generating Device Application Form (PDF, 460KB)
- MASS 21 - Voice Amplification Device Application Form (PDF, 352kB)
MASS holds a selection of second hand communication aids which are available for reissue. Refer to the following information for a list of equipment and the process for trial: MASS stock equipment (updated July 2016)
Information for clients
- Communication aids - frequently asked questions (PDF, 245kB)
- Communication Aids Information Sheet (PDF, 47kB)
- Artificial Larynx Care Information Sheet (PDF, 222kB)
- Voice Amplification Device Care Information Sheet (PDF, 213kB)
- Speech Generating Device Care Information Sheet (PDF, 216kB)
Advice and clinical support
Communication Aids Trials information and Pro Forma (PDF, 208kB)
Please contact the MASS Principal Communication Aids Advisor.