ReWalk Robotics Ltd announces that the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued a national policy for the evaluation, training, and procurement of personal exoskeleton systems for qualifying US veterans.
The VA policy is exclusive to ReWalk Robotics exoskeleton systems, according to a media release from the company.
The new policy provides veterans with spinal cord injury access to referral and evaluation at all designated ReWalk Training Centers across the United States. Veterans who meet the physical criteria for ReWalk will be referred for training on the use of the device. Successful candidates will then be eligible to obtain a ReWalk Personal system, the release explains.
The new VA national policy also states that veterans with SCI may be evaluated for use of the device at one of the 24 Veterans Health Administration SCI Centers nationwide, according to detailed protocols; and all SCI Centers are encouraged to pursue designation as a ReWalk Training Center.
In addition, once preliminary criteria for ReWalk training are met, the veteran will be referred to a VA SCI Center designated as a VA ReWalk Training Center. Training begins on an outpatient basis and proceeds to the home or community settings. Successful training by an individual will be followed by consideration of procurement for a personal unit for use at home and in the community, the release continues.
“This historic policy will provide access to our life-changing technology for thousands of veterans across America,” states ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski, in the release. “We want all US veterans with a spinal cord injury to know that they now have a path to securing their own ReWalk Personal exoskeleton system.”
In a separate media release, representatives from Paralyzed Veterans of America note that the organization is pleased with this new policy issued by the VA.
“Exoskeletons are the next frontier of independence for paralyzed veterans, and we are very pleased to see this policy being implemented,” says Sherman Gillums, Jr, deputy executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America, in the release. “While exoskeletons are by no means a replacement for the wheelchair in every case, it is another ‘choice’ we believe should be offered to veterans who qualify.”
“Not every paralyzed veteran will meet the clinical eligibility criteria, so the first step for understandably eager veterans is to determine, with a therapist and physician, whether an exoskeleton is ideal for them in each individual case,” Gillums advises. “Once cleared, each VA facility will need to undertake the assessment and procurement process pursuant to the new directive, which could take some time as more therapists need to become credentialed to work with veterans who will be issued exoskeletons.”
[Source(s): ReWalk Robotics Ltd, Paralyzed Veterans of America, PR Newswire, Business Wire]