(Sharon Herald) — The VA has agreed to pay for the ReWalk-powered exoskeleton for eligible paralyzed veterans with spinal cord injuries — marking the first national coverage policy for robotic legs in the United States. Veterans have been petitioning the VA to do this because many cannot afford the $77,000 needed to pay for the device called the ReWalk. The electronic leg braces were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014 for individuals to use at home. VA officials told The Associated Press that the agency sent a memorandum Dec. 10 outlining its plans to train staff to be able to provide the ReWalk.
News of the VA’s decision sent shares for ReWalk Robotics up over 100 percent Thursday. Sales have been sluggish since the FDA approval of the system, with few private insurers agreeing to cover it. Most of the 36 individuals who bought the ReWalk in the United States so far paid for it through fundraising or out of pocket.Tags: exoskeleton, ReWalk, ReWalk Robotics, VA