Benefits of Coming to the VA Palo Alto SCI Center - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


Benefits of Coming to the VA Palo Alto SCI Center

We provide high quality care to Veterans and Active Duty Service Members with spinal cord injuries. When you choose the VA Palo Alto SCI Center for your care, you truly become part of our family. We care for newly injured patients as well as those with long standing spinal cord injuries.

Our team has years of experience in treating spinal cord injury/disorders and strives to customize care to maximize each individual’s function and quality of life.

Our goal is to help you reach your goals for wellness, independence and participation in activities of your choice.

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We admit approximately 25 patients each year for Acute Rehabilitation and follow more than 1,100 patients for specialized spinal cord injury care.

Our outpatient treatment includes more than 2,200 visits per year, and we provide Annual Evaluations (wellness check-ups) to 600+ patients every year.

SCI Patient and staff member

23 to 93 Years Old

We serve both men and women and Veterans of any race/ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.

Our patient population covers a wide range of ages, which allows younger and older Veterans to interact and learn from each other.

Our patients come from a broad range of educational and work background. 68% with at least some college. 12% currently working, 54% retired.

Female patient on SCI equipment

An inpatient stay for Acute Rehabilitation will vary, depending on your individual needs and goals.

Range 21-77 Days

Our team includes you and your family in making decisions about discharge based on optimizing your function.

Dr. Ota talking to a patient in exam room

You will be expected to participate in 3 hours minimum of multidisciplinary therapy per day.

Rehabilitation nursing therapy, care and training is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Young man walking next to another young man in wheelchair

We assess your gains and recovery during rehab using the Functional Improvement Measure (FIM).

Patients experience an average increase of 35 FIM Points.

Your individual gains will depend on injury level and functional abilities.

Male patient with spinal cord injury operates a kitchen faucet

>80% return home.

The majority of patients return home after discharge from acute rehabilitation and most remain at home at follow-up.

If you live within 100 miles, our SCI Home Care team will provide nursing, therapy, and mental health support to you in your home.

We will continue to follow you with an Annual Evaluation (wellness check-up) and other needed medical or mental health care through your life after SCI.

Man smiling while operating a vehicle

100% Satisfaction with Rehab Stay!

A recent survey revealed that 100% of patients were satisfied or highly satisfied with their Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation services.

Two patients in wheelchairs smiling

Yes, the VA Palo Alto SCI Center is a great place to learn from peers. You will have the opportunity to be matched one on one with a trained Peer Mentor who may help you to adjust when you leave the Center.

You will receive support from the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). We will also help you to connect with local support groups and find useful online resources.

Three people in wheelchairs talking to each other

Yes, the Spinal Cord Center has a strong Therapeutic Recreation program that can help you achieve your goals for an active lifestyle once you leave the hospital.

Young men in wheelchairs playing ball

Yes, we are accredited by both CARF and The Joint Commission.

CARF and The Joint Commission logos

The VA Palo Alto is the “HUB” for Northern California and parts of Idaho and Nevada; our area includes the Pacific islands and Guam. We will connect you to local VA SCI care that may be closer to your home at one of our “SPOKE” sites:

  • San Francisco
  • Sacramento/Martinez
  • Fresno
  • Reno
  • Honolulu, Hawaii

Catchment area of VA Palo Alto Health Care System

Yes, the Fisher House and the Defenders Lodge are both located across from the Spinal Cord Injury Center and available at no cost to people who live beyond a 50-mile radius from the VA Palo Alto.

There are specific requirements for using each of these lodging services.

Fisher House on VA Palo Alto campus

Defenders Lodge on VA Palo Alto campus

If you are or have served in an active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA benefits.

You must have a medical diagnosis of a spinal cord injury or disorder (such as Multiple Sclerosis or Post Polio Syndrome, etc.)

**You do not need to be service connected or injured in the line of duty.**

Details of eligibility requirements can be found on the Veterans Eligibility website.

Man with disabilities operating a joystick with mouth while looking at a computer screeen

Almost everything is covered once you begin services here. There may or may not be a co-pay depending on your catastrophic disability status.

If you meet VA criteria for catastrophic disability you will not accrue any charges after the date of the approval.

If you have private insurance, the VA may attempt to collect payment from your insurance source, but your care is not dependent upon your insurance approval or payment. Secondary insurance is not required.

While you are in the hospital, care from all staff, medications, equipment, testing, etc. is provided without any additional charges.

We provide equipment for home use without charge.

Questions regarding your financial responsibility will be addressed by your Social Worker.

Men in wheelchairs sitting by lake

Please contact our Admissions Coordinator at 650-493-5000 ext. 65043.

To begin the referral process, we will first need to verify your eligibility:

  • Military service:
    If you are not yet receiving VA services, we will need a copy of your DD-214 (military discharge paperwork) and a 10-10EZ (VA enrollment) form.
  • Medical diagnosis of spinal cord injury or disorder:
    We will need to review your medical records to determine your SCI/D needs.
    - If you are currently hospitalized, your care team will need to fax/send us records.
    - If you are no longer hospitalized, we will need to obtain your medical records from the facility where you were hospitalized.

It’s okay if you do not have all of the above documents in your possession - we can still begin the process!

Please give us a call today, we are here to help!

Let us help you improve your function and regain your independence!

Collage of sports SCI patients participate in

YES! We offer care and treatment to Veterans with SCI/D through your lifetime. You will need to start with establishing VA eligibility. Once this is done, we will be able to schedule you for an initial evaluation to begin to know your history and identify any medical needs. We will work with you to plan any treatment and connect you to appropriate resources. We call this the Continuum of Care.

Patient in pool with instructor

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