ReWalk Robotics Ltd., the leading global exoskeleton developer and manufacturer, announced today that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued a national policy for the evaluation, training and procurement of ReWalk Personal exoskeleton systems for all qualifying veterans across the United States. The VA policy, which is exclusive to *ReWalk Robotics exoskeleton systems, is the first national coverage policy in the United States for qualifying individuals who have suffered spinal cord injury (SCI).
A powered exoskeleton, also known as powered armor, exoframe, or exosuit, is defined as a mobile machine consisting primarily of an outer framework worn by a person, and powered by a system of motors, hydraulics or Pneumatics that delivers at least part of the energy for limb movement. For example, the ReWalk exoskeleton system features powered hip and knee motion to enable those with lower limb disabilities, including paraplegia as a result of spinal cord injury (SCI), to perform self-initiated standing, walking, and stair ascending/ descending.
"This historic policy will provide access to our life-changing technology for thousands of veterans across America," said ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski. "We want all U.S. veterans with a spinal cord injury to know that they now have a path to securing their own ReWalk Personal exoskeleton system. The policy outlines a sound process to educate, train and importantly, to provide individual veterans with a ReWalk Personal device so that they may walk at home and in the community. We expect this landmark national policy will substantially improve the health and quality of life of many veterans in the years ahead," Jasinski added.
The comprehensive policy put forth by the VA provides veterans with spinal cord injury access to referral and evaluation at all designated ReWalk Training Centers across the country. Veterans who meet the physical criteria for ReWalk will be referred for training on the use of the device. Successful candidates will then be eligible to obtain a ReWalk Personal system.
"We are also very pleased that the VA's fundamental clinical research conclusively demonstrated that there are significant medical benefits associated with enabling an individual with a spinal cord injury to walk again," Jasinski said. "Based on their data, the VA's national policy now defines use of an exoskeleton as the standard of care for qualifying veterans with spinal cord injury. We are hopeful the VA policy will pave the way for additional positive national coverage decisions."
ReWalk is the only FDA cleared exoskeleton system in the U.S., with clearances for both personal use at home and in the community, as well as for the rehabilitation setting.
Some additional details of the new VA national policy:
A wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with spinal cord injury to stand upright and walk. The system provides user-initiated mobility through the integration of a wearable brace support, a computer-based control system and motion sensors. The system allows independent, controlled walking while mimicking the natural gait patterns of the legs. The ReWalk device is the most studied exoskeleton in the industry. Studies have identified a number of health benefits including: improved bladder and bowel function, improved mental health, improved sleep, reduced fatigue, decreased body fat, decreased pain and improved posture and balance.
ReWalk Robotics Ltd. develops, manufactures and markets wearable robotic exoskeletons for individuals with spinal cord injury. Their mission is to fundamentally change the quality of life for individuals with lower limb disability through the creation and development of market leading robotic technologies. Founded in 2001, ReWalk has headquarters in the US, Israel and Germany. For more information on the ReWalk systems, please visit www.rewalk.com
* ReWalk is a registered trademark of ReWalk Robotics Ltd. in Israel.
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