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Communication aids

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.

Available equipment

  • 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).

Eligible prescribers

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 forms

Select one of the following to suit the type of aid requesting:

MASS STOCK

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

Maintenance

Advice and clinical support

Communication Aids Trials information and Pro Forma (PDF, 208kB)

Please contact the MASS Principal Communication Aids Advisor.

Last updated: 16 September 2016

Maintaining low-tech communication

Prescribers should advise clients to maintain a low-tech communication system as a foundation and a back-up for their MASS subsidised communication aid (high-tech system).

Information for applicants

Find out about:

  • Types of aids and equipment
  • Eligibility
  • How to apply.

Suppliers

Find a list of suppliers approved by the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme.

Glossary

Find commonly used terms used when prescribing communication aids.