Two new federal proposals would help research in prosthetics and help those who need them. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has introduced the Wounded Warrior Workforce Enhancement Act, which authorizes a competitive grant program to help colleges and universities develop master’s degree programs focusing on orthotics and prosthetics.
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There is a need for those specialties, says Dr. Todd Kuiken, director of the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. “We’re already, should we say, going to be understaffed with prosthetists, but they also need to jump to a whole new level of technology and that’s where this investment needs to happen to bring up to capacity and beyond for the next generation of devices,” Kuiken said.
Durbin has also introduced the Wounded Warrior Research Enhancement Act, which calls for the centralized collection of research on orthotics and prosthetics. Many practitioners rely on trial and error methods. The centralized collection of research would give caretakers the knowledge they need to better match prosthetic and orthotic devices with individual patients, saving time and money.
The bills are aimed at helping veterans, but also will help the more than 600,000 in need of prosthetics nationwide.