ReWalk Robotics Says Updated U.S. VA Policy Expanded Access to its Exoskeleton

ReWalk Va exoskeletons

ReWalk Robotics, Ltd. announced that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has updated its policy on using exoskeleton medical device for training and rehabilitation of qualifying Veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI). The updated policy provides expanded access for training to additional VA centers and private rehabilitation clinics through the VA’s Veterans Choice Program, a program that allows veterans to receive care from a community provider paid for by the VA.

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The new policy which was issued in June 2018, is an updated version of the original standard operating policy (SOP) issued by the VA in December 2015. Because of the new policy, the evaluation will now require all Veterans to flow through one of 24 designated spinal cord injury VA centers (SCI/D). Once a veteran is found to be eligible for training and procurement of his or her own exoskeleton system, the individual may be allowed to pursue training in one of three ways: at the applicable SCI/D hub center, at a qualified VA hospital designated by the VA’s “hub & spoke” program, or at a qualified private rehabilitation center through the VA’s Veterans Choice Program.

The policy states:

“If a Veteran with SCI/D is unable or unwilling to travel to a VA Exoskeleton Training Center for training, case-by-case consideration will be given to enable the Veteran and companion to receive training at a VA facility that does not have an exoskeleton training program or at a non-VA facility.”

“This revised policy is a great step forward that will potentially help many paralyzed Veterans who simply seek to walk again,” said ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski. “These significant SOP updates mean that numerous injured Veterans who have expressed an interest in obtaining a ReWalk, but have not been able to participate due to a lack of availability in their area, can now have access. We are pleased to see the VA build upon the SOP, taking into account the Department’s own extensive research and its ongoing national trial.”

ReWalk Va exoskeletons

The revised policy has made available 142 ReWalk certified private and VA SCI/D training centers across the US to teach Veterans how to use ReWalk. Moreover, the network of VA SCI/D spoke sites may now be eligible to conduct training and provide additional opportunity.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs is a federal Cabinet-level agency that provides near-comprehensive healthcare services to eligible military veterans. It is also the leading provider of a national policy for the training and procurement of exoskeleton systems for qualifying beneficiaries. ReWalk Robotics has been working alongside VA to help provide training and devices nationwide to facilitate the implementation of the policy since it was issued in 2015.

About ReWalk Robotics

A leader in exoskeletons, ReWalk Robotics designs, develops and commercializes exoskeletons allowing wheelchair-bound individuals to stand and walk once again. ReWalk aims to fundamentally change the health and life experiences of people with spinal cord injury. Founded in 2001, ReWalk has headquarters in the US, Israel and Germany.

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Johanna Mischke () is Editor-in-Chief at WT | Wearable Technologies – the pioneer and worldwide leading innovation and market development platform for technologies worn close to the body, on the body or even in the body. Besides being an expert for wearables and their broader ecosystem she is experienced in the startup world and international marketing. Johanna can be reached at j.mischke(at)wearable-technologies.com.