The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to pay for special robotic legs for paralyzed veterans.
ReWalk Robotics shares soared on Thursday after the maker of a robotic exoskeleton that enables paralyzed people to walk won insurance coverage from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA said it would cover the $77,000 cost of the device for some 42,000 U.S. army veterans who were left paralyzed from war injuries, although only a proportion of them would meet the requirements.
The VA’s decision followed petitions by many veterans who cannot afford the cost of the powered exoskeleton called the ReWalk. The apparatus requires specific height and weight requirements and works for paraplegics but not for quadriplegics.
The device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014 for individuals to use at home, but the cost has kept it out of reach of many. ReWalk Robotics CEO Larry Jasinski said a dozen VA centers are expected to start training staff to provide the system.
“The research support and effort to provide eligible veterans with paralysis an exoskeleton for home use is a historic move on the part of the VA, because it represents a paradigm shift in the approach to rehabilitation for persons with paralysis,” said Dr. Ann Spungen, who led VA research on the system.
Sportact Editors and Wire Services