WASHINGTON – To improve veterans’ access to specialty rehabilitation services, enrolled patients at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers can now schedule appointments directly with amputation care and wheelchair clinics, without having to first see a primary care provider.

This means veterans will not have to make an extra appointment and travel to a VA facility for a referral. Direct scheduling is available at 137 VA facilities for amputation care and at 124 VA facilities for wheelchair clinics. Additionally, same-day access for orthotist-prosthetist clinical services is available at 141 VA facilities.

“We are focused on implementing the best solutions to modernize how we deliver rehabilitation and prosthetic services across all VA medical centers – ensuring Veterans nationwide are receiving timely and integrated health care and support,” said Robert Wilkie, acting secretary of Veterans Affairs.  

As the largest and most comprehensive provider of prosthetic devices and sensory aids in the country, VA Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service currently averages 638,000 new requests monthly across its health-care system for such items. The service provides a full range of equipment and services to veterans, including artificial limbs and bracing, wheeled mobility and seating systems, sensory-neural aids like hearing aids and eyeglasses, implants and devices surgically placed in the veteran like hips and pacemakers, and home respiratory care.

VA is working to ensure veterans are receiving their medical items, equipment and supplies sooner.

Since June 2017, the total number of requests for prosthetic items pending for more than 30 days has been reduced by 72 percent.

As VA continues to look for modern, simple ways to improve care for America’s veterans, additional process improvements for prosthetic and specialty rehabilitation services will be fully implemented at all VA medical centers in 2018.