U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) joined U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) to introduce two bills to improve O&P care for U.S. service members and veterans.
The first bill, the Wounded Warrior Workforce Enhancement Act, would authorize a competitive grant program to help colleges and universities develop master’s degree programs in O&P. Each institution receiving one of these grants would require students to have clinical rotations at facilities run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), or that hold contracts with the VA. 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.
The second bill, the Wounded Warrior Research Enhancement Act, would establish the first centralized collection of O&P outcomes-based research. The research collection established by the bill would 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 be optimal. In addition, the research collection will provide information on advanced materials, technologies, and devices.