The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has recently updated a regulation that affects VA patients who may be eligible for sensory aids or prosthetics. The regulation seeks to create a uniform standard for determining who will be eligible for these important medical devices, which assist disabled veterans every day. This will help to ensure consistency of treatment and availability of services, regardless of where someone may seek assistance for their disability.
Explaining the New Regulation
The new rule, which is effective as of January 27, 2021, establishes a clear set of guidelines for who is eligible for certain kinds of assistive devices used to help veterans who suffer from disabilities. It also sets clear guidelines for what devices and services are covered by VA benefits. It also establishes a new section to provide veterans with “prosthetic and rehabilitative items and services.”
Types of equipment defined in the rule include:
- adaptive household items
- adaptive recreation equipment
- cognitive devices
- communication devices
- home exercise equipment
- home medical equipment
- home respiratory equipment
- mobility aids
- orthotic devices
- prosthetic limbs
- replacement items.
Why is This Regulation Important?
Up until now, each VA center used its own categorization criteria for different medical devices. This meant that veterans could receive wildly varying care and access to equipment and services, depending on which facility they sought treatment from. The regulation creates clear criteria that makes uniform standard for all veterans, so they always know they will receive the same level of care and assistance regardless of where they seek treatment.
Who Benefits From the New Regulation?
The VA is the single largest provider of sensory aids, prosthetics, and other adaptive equipment in the United States. Approximately 52% of all VA beneficiaries have received some sort of sensory aid, prosthesis, or other medical device to assist with a disability. The lack of uniformity of care, however, meant that some veterans received substantially worse care than others, simply due to how their conditions were classified and assessed by the VA facility they visited.
Thus, many veterans may stand to benefit from the new rule, who otherwise might not have had their adaptive equipment or rehabilitative services covered. This will allow some veterans to get access to the tools they need to live happier, healthier lives, giving them access to prosthetics, sensory aids, and other equipment and services they may previously have been denied. However, it may take some time for the regulation to be fully implemented across every VA facility.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.