On June 28, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chris Murphy
(D-CT) introduced two bills to improve O&P care for service members
and veterans. The legislation would enhance research in best practices
and support colleges and universities seeking to establish degree
programs to train specialists.
The first bill, the Wounded
Warrior Workforce Enhancement Act (S. 1467), authorizes a competitive
grant program to help colleges and universities develop O&P master’s
degree programs. Each institution receiving one of these grants will
require students to rotate through facilities run by the U.S. Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the U.S. Department of Defense, or by
facilities that hold VA contracts. The bill also requires the VA to
establish a Center of Excellence in Prosthetic and Orthotic Education to
provide evidence-based research on the knowledge, skills, and training
clinical professionals need to care for veterans.
bill, the Wounded Warrior Research Enhancement Act (S. 1466),
establishes the first centralized collection of outcomes-based O&P
research. The research collection established by the bill will give
caregivers the knowledge they need to better match prosthetic and
orthotic devices with individual patients, saving time and money by
improving the likelihood that a veteran’s first prosthesis will also be
the best. In addition, the research collection will provide information
on advanced materials, technologies, and devices.