VA Publishes Regulations to Improve O&P Delivery

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The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has published a final rule to establish and clarify eligibility for prosthetic and rehabilitative items and services available to veterans. This establishes, for the first time, the nationwide categories of O&P services, sensory aids, and medical devices the VA is authorized to provide to veterans as part of their active treatment and ongoing rehabilitation. 

Previously, these categories varied across VA medical centers. 

"The rule establishes a uniform approach for VA to deliver prosthetic items and services to veterans," said Robert Wilkie, VA secretary. "It ensures veterans receive the same standard of service for the rehabilitative devices they need to live independently, no matter which medical center they walk into." 

Categories of prosthetic and rehabilitation items and services defined in the rule include: adaptive household items, adaptive recreation equipment, cognitive devices, communication devices, home exercise equipment, home medical equipment, home respiratory equipment, implants, mobility aids, orthotic devices, prosthetic limbs, and replacement items.

While the items currently provided to veterans will not significantly change, the rule enables the VA to identify current best practices to serve as the standard for all veterans who receive their care through the VA. In fiscal year 2020, the VA provided approximately 21 million prosthetic devices/items to veterans, serving more than 52 percent of all veterans treated by the VA.