Patient Care Services
Rehabilitation Services and Prosthetic Services
VA's Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services is responsible for the national policies and programs for medical rehabilitation, prosthetic and sensory aids services that promote the health, independence and quality of life for Veterans with disabilities. Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services is comprised of national programs for: Audiology and Speech Pathology; Blind Rehabilitation; Chiropractic Care; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service; and, Recreation Therapy. Special programs include Polytrauma/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) System of Care, Amputation System of Care, and Blind Rehabilitation Care Continuum. Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services provides program and policy direction for over 8,000 rehabilitation care and prosthetic services providers. Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services is committed to providing the highest quality, comprehensive, interdisciplinary care; the most advanced medical devices and products that are commercially available; and, promoting advancements in rehabilitative care and evidence-based treatment. Rehabilitation Services and Prosthetic Services site.
Amputation System of Care
The Amputation System of Care provides specialized expertise in amputation rehabilitation incorporating the latest practice in medical rehabilitation management, rehabilitation therapies, and technological advances in prosthetic devices. Each distinct component of the Amputation System of Care provides graded levels of expertise and accessibility. Amputation System of Care site
Audiology & Speech Pathology
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Service (ASPS) is dedicated to three major goals:
- providing high quality, comprehensive, state-of-the-art clinical services to veterans with hearing, tinnitus, balance, speech, language, voice, and swallowing disorders;
- supporting the training of developing audiologists and speech pathologists; and
- conducting research to improve technologies, methodologies, treatment efficacy, and associated elements of patient care.
Audiology Services include:
- evaluation and treatment of hearing loss
- evaluation and management of tinnitus
- assessment of balance problems
- evaluation/issue of hearing aids and assistive/alerting devices to eligible veterans
- cochlear implant and/or bone-anchored hearing management in some locations
- aural rehabilitation
- Speech-Language pathology services include:
- evaluation and treatment of speech
- voice and swallowing disorders
- diagnostic assessment such as modified barium swallow
- provision of prosthetic communication devices
Automobile Adaptive Equipment
This program provides the necessary AAE and training to enable disabled Veterans and Servicemembers to operate a motor vehicle safely and permit access to and from the vehicle in a safe manner. Veterans are trained, through the VA Driver's Rehabilitation Program, how to safely operate their vehicle on our nation's roadways.
The VA also provides necessary equipment such as platform wheelchair lifts, UVLs (under vehicle lifts), power door openers, lowered floors/raised roofs, raised doors, hand controls, left foot gas pedals, reduced effort and zero effort steering and braking, and digital driving systems. Additionally, VA's program provides reimbursements for standard equipment including, but not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and other special equipment necessary for the safe operation of an approved vehicle.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides blind and vision rehabilitation programs to eligible beneficiaries who are visually impaired. Veterans Health Administration is the first national healthcare system to completely and seamlessly integrate rehabilitation services for patients with visual impairments into its health benefits. This ensures that patients receive the finest medical and rehabilitation care, as well as cutting-edge assistive technology. The VA Blind Rehabilitation Service model of care encompasses an array of rehabilitative services, extending from the patient's home to the local VA care facility, and to regional low vision clinics and inpatient training programs. These services include adjustment to blindness counseling, patient and family education, benefits analysis, comprehensive residential inpatient training, outpatient rehabilitation services, the provision of assistive technology, and research. Blind Rehabilitation site
The VA Chiropractic Service serves Veterans by delivering the highest quality patient-centered, evidence-based care to patients with neuromuscular or musculoskeletal conditions in a timely, compassionate, cost-effective manner. The Chiropractic Service provides educational opportunities for chiropractic residents, students, and other trainees, and promotes and conducts research leading to improved function, health and quality of life for Veterans.
Chiropractic care includes non-operative management of musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, or pain in joints, via a comprehensive approach including manual techniques and active rehabilitation. Chiropractic services are integrated with primary care, specialty clinics and rehabilitation, and provide a non-pharmacologic option for pain management.
Clothing Allowance Eligibility
Veterans who are service-connected for a disability for which they use prosthetic or orthopedic appliances or whose service-connected skin condition requires prescribed medication that irreparably damages outer garments may receive an annual clothing allowance payment. Beginning December 16, 2011, multiple clothing allowance payments are payable for Veterans who have one or more appliances/devices/skin medications that causes wear, tear, or irreparable damage to one or more articles of clothing. To apply for one or more clothing allowances, complete VA Form 10-8678 no later than August 1st of each year. Please submit this form to the Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service (PSAS) at the VA Medical Center closest to you. Please do not submit your application/form to PSAS Central Office in Washington, DC. For the special benefit amount for clothing allowance, see the Special Benefit Allowances Rate Table.
The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Service provides professional evaluation and instruction in the safe, competent utilization of special add-on equipment, and mastery of specific skills and techniques to effectively drive a motor vehicle, independently, and in accordance with State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations for all eligible Veterans with disabilities and certain military personnel at 48 Certified Driver Training Programs across VHA.
Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA)
Under the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) program, Veterans with service-connected disabilities or Veterans with non-service-connected disabilities may receive assistance for any home improvement necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities. A HISA grant is available to Veterans who have received a medical determination indicating that improvements and structural alterations are necessary or appropriate for the effective and economical treatment of his/her disability. A Veteran may receive both a HISA grant and either a Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant or a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant.
HISA grant provides for medically necessary improvements and structural alterations to a Veteran/Servicemember’s residence for the following purposes:
- allowing entrance to, or exit from their primary residence
- use essential lavatory and sanitary facilities,
- allowing accessibility to kitchen or bathroom sinks or counters
- improving entrance paths or driveways in immediate area of the home to facilitate access to the home
- improving plumbing or electrical systems made necessary due to installation of medical equipment in the home
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Service is a physician directed, interdisciplinary team treatment process designed to increase independence and improve quality of life for persons with disabilities. PM&R is responsible for the clinical direction of special programs, including the Polytrauma/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) System of Care Program and the Amputation System of Care Program. Driver Rehabilitation is another specialized service provided by a number of VA Medical Centers.
Polytrauma/TBI System of Care
The Polytrauma System of Care is an integrated nationwide network of care for Veterans and active duty Service Members recovering from traumatic brain injury and Polytrauma. The system consists of more than 100 programs, each offering specialized rehabilitation care by an interdisciplinary team. Polytrauma System of Care site
Prosthetic & Sensory Aids Service (PSAS)
Provides comprehensive support to optimize health and independence of the Veteran. Our vision is to be the premier source of prosthetic and orthotic services, sensory aids, medical equipment, and support services for Veterans. VA Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service (PSAS) is the largest and most comprehensive provider of prosthetic devices and sensory aids in the world. Although the term "prosthetic device" may suggest images of artificial limbs, it actually refers to any device that supports or replaces a body part or function. PSAS provides a full range of equipment and services to Veterans. These range from items worn by the Veteran, such as an artificial limb or hearing aid; those that improve accessibility, such as ramps and vehicle modifications; to devices surgically placed in the Veteran, such as hips and pacemakers. Benefits Programs include Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE), Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grant, and Clothing Allowance.
PSAS Clinical Services include Orthotics and Prosthetic Services, hearing aids and eyeglasses, and a wide range of comprehensive services and items including but not limited to:
- Sensory aids such as hearing and blind aids
- Mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs
- Communication and assistive devices
- Home respiratory therapy such as home oxygen services
- Recreational/rehabilitative equipment
- Surgical Implants
- Durable medical equipment
- Prosthetic item repairs
To learn more about Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service visit http://www.prosthetics.va.gov/index.asp
Recreation Therapy is a direct-care interdisciplinary service, whose aim is to improve and enrich bio-psycho-social functioning through active therapy and/or meaningful therapeutic activities to maintain or improve functional independence and life quality. The Intended outcome of the service is independence in life activities based upon patient/resident needs and goals. This is accomplished through the professional skills of therapists ( Art, Dance, Music, Recreation) , Specialists and Assistants through a four step process of assessment, planning, intervention /activity implementation, and evaluation of services delivered. This is accomplished through state of the art clinical care, education, technology, and research within the scope of recreation/creative arts therapy. The service is intended to serve veterans, their family members, recreation/creative arts clinicians, VA staff, affiliated recreation/creative arts associations and the community, providing information about recreation/creative arts therapies.
Recreation Therapy Service provides an activity based patient centered service that integrates function, quality and meaning to one’s life through art, dance, music, and recreational activities. Our commitment to the advancement of recreation therapy is accomplished through on-going education, clinical training and research.
Rehabilitation Services coordinates the provision of a full range of rehabilitative services to promote the health, independence and quality of life for Veterans with disabilities. Rehabilitative care services include Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Traumatic Brain Injury, Blind Rehabilitation, Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, and Recreation Therapy. Rehabilitation Services are committed to providing high quality, comprehensive care as well as promoting advances in treatment through research and technology.