Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Chris Murphy recently joined Rep. Matt Cartwright to introduce two bills to improve orthotic and prosthetic care for U.S. service members and veterans.
The first bill, the Wounded Warrior Workforce Enhancement Act, would authorize a competitive grant program to help colleges and universities develop master’s degree programs focusing on O&P. Each institution receiving a grant will require students to rotate through facilities run by the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) or Department of Defense (DOD), or a facility that holds VA contracts. The bill also requires the VA to establish a Center of Excellence in Prosthetic and Orthotic Education to provide evidence-based research on the knowledge, skills and training clinical professionals need to care for veterans. Chicago would be a leading contender for that Center of Excellence.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy
U.S Rep. Matt Cartwright
The second bill, the Wounded Warrior Research Enhancement Act, establishes the first centralized collection of outcomes-based research in O&P. The research collection will provide information on advanced materials, technologies and devices.
“Our nation’s brave warfighters have served and continue to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq with honor and distinction,” Cartwright stated in a press release. “Unfortunately, over 1,700 of these brave individuals have undergone amputations as a result of combat-related injuries over the past decade due to these wars. The impending end to these conflicts simply indicates the start of a grueling recovery for far too many veterans, and we have a moral obligation to provide our heroes with the best health care available.”