On September 29, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its opposition to HR 5428, the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights. This comes as a surprise as the VA supported a similar bill in the 110th Congress in the summer of 2008, according to a National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetic press release.
NAAOP urges practitioners to contact their VA patients who have had problems with the orthotic or prosthetic care provided by the VA and ask them to write to NAAOP with their experiences. NAAOP asks that they explain how the bill of rights would have made their experience with the VA a better one. NAAOP will package all the letters together and present them to congress to demonstrate why the VA bill of rights must be passed now.
NR 5428 is federal legislation that seeks to ensure that veterans know their rights about their O&P care. The bill would mandate that all VA O&P clinics post a written list of rights that all veterans have, including the right to:
- access the highest quality prosthetic and orthotic care;
- the most appropriate technology and best qualified practitioners;
- select the practitioner that best meets their O&P needs, whether or not that practitioner is an employee of the VA, a private VA contractor, or a private practitioner with specialized expertise;
- continuity of care in the transition from the Department of Defense health program to the VA health system, including comparable O&P benefits;
- consistent and comparable services and technology across the country;
- timely and efficient O&P care, including speedy authorizations;
- a second opinion for O&P treatment options; and
- a primary orthosis/prosthesis and a functional spare.