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House Passes Amendment Protecting Veterans? Access to Healthcare Providers

The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics
and Prosthetic (NAAOP) has been working with Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) to
protect veterans with amputations’ choice of an O&P practitioner.
Those recent efforts resulted in the passage June 8 of an amendment by
the U.S. House of Representatives that would oppose a proposed rule by
the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to eliminate the choice
veterans with amputations have in selecting a healthcare provider.

Walberg,
chief sponsor of the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights (H.R.
2322), proposed an amendment to the 2019 Military Construction, Veterans
Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would defund the
section of the VA proposed rule denying veteran choice of provider,
thereby prohibiting the VA from implementing or enforcing this
regulation.

NAAOP also acknowledges The American
Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA), which worked closely with
Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL), who also supported the amendment. The bill
now moves to the Senate where the underlying bill is expected to move
expeditiously, according to the NAAOP. This amendment will give the
O&P community time to work with the VA to ensure injured veterans
with amputations have their choice of provider and continued access to
care.

This follows efforts by NAAOP and other O&P
organizations to oppose the proposed rule issued by the VA last fall
that would change more than five decades of VA practice whereby veterans
have had the choice of their prosthetist or orthotist, whether that
O&P practitioner was a VA employee or a private practitioner with a
contract with the VA. The proposed rule stated that the VA will have the
“sole authority” to make this personal and clinical decision for
veterans, calling it an “administrative business decision.”

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