TODAY: Congress To Hold Hearing On VA TBI Exam Failures

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Those interested in VA TBI exam failures over the past decade should tune in this morning for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing on the subject.

Since 2008, VA has held a policy that requires initial TBI examinations be performed by a specialist. Those specialists are: neurologists, psychiatrists, physiatrists, or neurosurgeons. VA failed to follow its own protocol when it failed to use those same specialists to conduct the exams for over 24,000 veterans.

Congress plans to hold a hearing starting at 10 AM EST today. You should be able to follow the link below or tune in on CSPAN or Congress.gov.

WATCH IT: https://www.congress.gov/committees/video/house-veterans-affairs/hsvr00

UPDATE, 10am: The VA TBI Exam Hearing Is Posted Below

Just a quick note, you can skip ahead to minute 30 to start the hearing.

MY TAKE ON VA TBI EXAM HEARING

My expectations for the hearing are low for four reasons. First, we are heading into a recess when most lawmakers are already shifting gears to be reelected.

Second, the House Committee has invited all the wrong people. Right after the scandal broke last year, former head of the Office of Disability and Medical Assessment resigned/retired, Dr. Gerald Cross. This is the doctor we want to talk to.

Instead, now that VA has shuffled around the deck chairs, we will get a bunch of newbies who were not around during the ramp up leading to the scandal.

Third, the House Committee still has no idea what the four specialties apparently are. Instead of listing the correct four, they included “psychologists” in the mix. I’m not sure how they got that important factor confused, but they did.

Fourth, the House Committee failed to invite anyone with an opposing view to provide testimony to the committee about the TBI scandal. The reporter who broke the scandal, AJ Lagoe, was not invited. I was not invited despite being the attorney who uncovered the scandal and passed it on to Lagoe.

At least on the surface, it does not look like Congress is terribly concerned with getting to the bottom of this one given the lack of diversity in the testimony proposed.

RELATED: VA TBI Scandal Exposed In TV Special

Here is the House Committee press release:

HVAC to Review VA Failures in TBI Examinations and Disability Claims

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. in room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs will hold an oversight hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ failure to provide adequate examinations for traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Since 2008, Veterans Benefits Administration policy has required that initial TBI disability examinations be conducted by one of four specialists: neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists or neurosurgeons. However, an April 2016 VA review of disability examinations for TBI claims revealed over 24,000 veterans nationwide received a TBI examination performed by an unqualified examiner.

Due to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, a growing number of veterans are being diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries. The Department of Defense and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center estimate that brain injuries account for 22 percent of combat wounds to U.S. service members who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. By comparison, brain injuries accounted for 12 percent of combat wounds among Vietnam veterans.

The purpose of this hearing is to examine the reasons VA failed to provide adequate TBI examinations to more than 24,000 veterans and the steps VA is taking to ensure veterans have the opportunity to request a readjudication of their TBI claim.

The following event is open to the press:

WHO: Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs

WHAT: “TBI Claims: VA’s Failure to Provide Adequate Examinations

WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building and streaming at veterans.house.gov

WITNESS LIST

David R. McLenachen
Deputy Under Secretary for Disability Assistance
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Accompanied by:

Mary Glenn
Acting Deputy Director, Operations, Compensation Services
Veterans Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Patricia Murray
Chief Officer, Office of Disability and Medical Assessment
Veterans Health Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

###

24 COMMENTS

  1. VA DEATHCARE ONE BIG BIG FEDRAL RICO CRIME RACKET RUN BUY @ FOR AFGE UNION CONTRACTS VETS YO ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SCREWED BY VA DEATHCARE FROM HELL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Here’s yet another thing that requires to be changed with the VA: VA Employees should NOT be able to use a resignation/retiring to be exempted from that thing called accountability.
    We see this over and over with the VA. Employees at all levels view a “sudden retirement” as a “get out of jail card” and the VA coddles this behavior.
    Unfortunately, members of congress are more than likely way more concerned about their golf country club 18 holes reservations and their fund raising vacation, not so much about the Veterans. This meeting today with ALL the WRONG people just shows this disdain and lack of respect for Veterans if anyone cared about my take on it. Another horse and pony show right before the T-Off.
    I will also just say it. I think Benjamin was not invited out of design…fear of that VA Kryptonite called Accountability.

    • i found some appointments in my VA med records statings i had failed to show for appointments. though in reality the VA had rescheduled them but the med records didn’t reflect that. they made it out like i had “failed” to show. so i sent that off to Congression VA Committees. got back the typical thank-you template letter.

      but i did see where that doctor had “retired”. of course that dept didn’t notify me nor let me know so i could make other appointments. some months later, i have a routine appt, and the nurse taking my vitals mentions out of the blue and asks me about that doctor and mentioned he now went into private practice and how all the employees at VA just love him and would be seeing him for medical needs. another VA union employee trying to stir me up or something. she must have known full well i had put in a complaint. hard not to assume that.

      imagine that.

      so yeah, as @namnibor mentions, the “sudden retirement” with i assume benefits and no accountability. we’ve all seen it.

      i feel like writing a lot and venting now as this stuff triggers many sh!t VA experiences but i won’t waste your time or mine.

  3. >>The purpose of this hearing is to examine the reasons VA failed to provide adequate TBI examinations to more than 24,000 veterans and the steps VA is taking to ensure veterans have the opportunity to request a readjudication of their TBI claim.

    this hearing will walk away with about as much useful information as A.G. Lynch spewed before the House Judiciary Committee recently. basically useless information designed to stall and divert.

    so this Congressional committee will actually see to it that “veterans have the opportunity to request a readjudication of their TBI claim.”

    really? has Congress ever fixed anything regarding the decades of veteran complaints about the VA disability process? seems it takes the likes of NVLSP and legal action like “Nehmer”/etc to get results regarding the dysfunctional fiasco called VBA. if it isn’t a dysfunctional fiasco, then it is another one of many $political$ thug operations.

    kudos to @Ben for exposing this situation and getting the story to that journalist. otherwise the VA would still be hiding this and the veterans and their families suffering from the TBI and side-effects would still be in the dark about it all.

    • Let’s be clear. When Congress must force by subpeona VHA officials to testify, when VA Union leadership is openly hostile to any reform of the DBC process, accountability for lawbreakers, or actual monotoring and supervising of their brotherhood, then Congressional idiots who kiss babies asses to wear a cool comgress pin can kiss all the ass they want and it means didly.

      Congress can demand reform. VA union says no. President demands accountabilty. AFGA says “I will kick (The Secratary Of Veterans Affairs) Bob’s ass!” when confronted with measure that hold its members accountable. VA shifts employees around more than the Catholic Church shifted pedophiles with substantially the same catagory of horrors being perpetrated.

      Did the Catholic Church go away? Nope. A Pope resigned. The wheels keep spinning. AFGE is precisely and exactly what the Catholic Church became to pedophiles once; a haven for those who break voth moral and statutory laws, ethics, and stated goals.

      The President himself could call a day long TV show and still need one thousand days more to even scratch the surface of the horrors perpetrated upon vets and their families by AFGE brothers and VA leadership, and AFGE being about a quarter million me,bers strong and controlling key aspects of critical govt services will giggle, shift its people around more effeiciently than CIA in obfuscation, and nothting at all will change.

      Hearings are just baby ass kissing housewifes who smiled real pretty and got the vote, or some lunatic Barney Frank type, or some crooks from Florida or some other place that vomitted them up. Most are fairly brain dead but irregardless even if they had the will of the Titans backing their cause, they are lower ranking than the lowest janitor in the AFGE when it comes to actual dispensing of service.

      When I obtained a Restraining Order against a VA manager, he warned me in violent voice on the phone and talking about AFGE about what would happen. I told him the Administration would hold him accountable. He said in reference to AFGE, “Let me tell you something pal, administrations come and go but WE will still be here and we know who YOU are.”

      When I filed a civil rights complaint the Director responded, “That individual no linger works at this facility, and therfor we can not verify the accuracy of your allegation.”

      This hearing means shit.

  4. Well, it looks like another VA employee got the chance to retire. Before being held accountable. How many so far in the past two or three years, I’ve lost count!
    I’m going to wait and see just how bad the committee screws this up.
    Can anyone say anything this committee has accomplished for veterans – EVER!
    When did they, over the past 30 years, ever do anything FOR vets?

    I agree with namnibor. They didn’t invite Ben or A.J. Lago by design. If they had, the committee might have had the truth come out. Does anyone actually believe they want the truth?

    With the “secret meeting”, “AG being promised a continued employment”, “an FBI witness being interviewed” – (not under oath or recorded), then a bunch of other fiascoes, all within a TEN DAY PERIOD!
    What makes anyone believe this current Administration or Congress gives a rats ass about any American Citizen?!
    Until these career dinosaur politicians and appointed officials are held accountable, and put in jail, does anyone see anything happening for the taxpayers and/or veterans?
    This begs the question, “Just what kind of authority does Congress truly have?” From what we’ve seen, it’s apparent they have NONE! Or, at least, that’s what it appears to be!

  5. The first step in nuetering the AFGE is to change the leadership structure which a President can do. Specifically, every medical facility has a Chief Of Staff. This person must be replaced with a person hired and paid by Justice Department amd answerable directly to, and only to Justice. Still a doctor, but a doctor that must pass a high school equivalency test on Civil Rights. Same with Director but hired, paid, and answerable to the Committee On Veterans Affairs.

    The next step is to implement solution resolution career holds on VA employees. This would mean that if the Director has been notified of a Civil Rights complaint, or any complaint against a VA employee, then a statutory mandate that requires all career advancement be halted for that person until the Director verifies amd resolves the complaint. If an appeal of their decision is made, the hold remians pending appeal resolution.

    All appeals will be sent, and processed by a special unit in Justice. Justice Dept will have statutory mandate to determine is criminal violations occured and statutory mandate to pursue. Justice Dept will determine if employee violated VA regs, VA mission statement, or Any mandates set forth in Congress that apply to VA. Termination will be immediate if true.

    These few steps would involve a fraction of the people now involved in trying to help vets after VA has harmed, but moreover I cannot see the argument against this scheme. I often complain without offering any ideas. I have been through the wringer with these assholes and it always comes down to the Chief Of Staff and the Director. Change who gives the, their paycheck and change who it is that judges and acts on misdeeds with people that have earned the title “Judge” instead of he title “AFGE goon”.

    Unless AFGE argues the system is working just fine now….

    • Justice Dept. They can’t and won’t find their own asses with both hands! Abolish the VHA and at the very least send them home. Lets see how they act when they have to WORK for a living. And folks, I have the solution for NLM. We used to call “em M60s.

  6. Here’s something y’all need to be aware of;

    The many Social Medias are spreading the word to have “..massive demonstrations nationwide starting this Friday, 15 July 2016!”
    BLM, (Black Lives Matters), and the (New) Black Panthers are the two major groups behind this.

    Remember “Hill Street Blues”, and what the Sargent would say, “Be careful out there!”
    I believe it’s going to get rougher!

    • Rougher is really a relative thing my friend. I am not afraid of words of others.

      About a year and a half ago I lay on some pristine wet pavement late late at night all by myself in the rain. It was quiet except for the gentle sound of the McKenzie River that the road was beside.

      I pondered my next step in life as I gazed at my Harley Deluxe also laying quietly about 50 feet down the road on its own bent up side but in the other lane and sideways blocking the lane. Late at night in the rain on a remote road. I had a lot of time to just think that night. A little too much goddamn time in my estimation, but circumstances at the time dictated that I remain in own lane sideways.

      I experienced hope. I hoped in a most extreme fashion that any car travelling the road would be coming in my own lane. I figured that anyone coming from the other way would easily see my beautiful shiney Harley on laying down in their lane and move over to avoid. I reckoned that my all black riding gear on rag doll body might be overlooked. I was happy when the car that found me came from my side.

      A short time later as the medics removed my rubber slip on boot (rain gear) from a right leg that was in many pieces not normally found in a man, I discovered a noise that originates somewhere down just behind my nuts and thunders up through the soul thwAt I had no idea was there and had zero comtrol over it. It grabbed my spinal comlumn on the way up to my mouth and yanked HARD. I believe every awake soul within four floors of the ER heard it too.

      I discovered my death scream. God gifted me that night many things. One of His gifts to me that night was a blessing. He removed fear of things I cannot control. I could not control who might be travelling the road that night or which way they may be going. I cannot control my screams that come from down there nor can I stop pain. I just cant control it so I do not fear it any longer. I cannot control any jerk who marches for whatever reason. Like pain I just avoid if possible and that is all I plan to do.

      One last thing; God, if you are listening, thanks for putting the car that found me that night in my lane…

    • Specifically: “”Those Groups”” have officially called to ARMS and for all those to land upon the Republican Conv. in Cleveland…these “groups” have become officially HOME Terror Groups and should be treated as such. If you read many comments below news stories of what police across the USA are going through with outright lawlessness and civil disobedience (as if it ever stopped, only escalated), those comments from members of “those groups” are such that we folks, are not far from the precipice of Marshall Law…that would also…keep Obamy and Lynch effectively in office and elections postponed until….whenever.

      This is not paranoia folks. This is outright anarchy, not peaceful protests. Not the America I am proud of right now.

    • @namnibor and redturtle984

      Redturtle, I’m not “afraid of words” either. Yet, this is not what BLM and the Black Panthers are doing or saying. They are calling for outright war against anyone who stands in their way, for what they deem, or demand, is their rights!

      Here’s just two examples, (articles), which explain it in detail;

      1.) From, “Dave Hodges – The Common Sense Show”

      “37 Separate Acts of Potential Terrorism Are Planned for This Friday”

      It gives the name of each city and state. Where these ‘protests’ will be held starting 15 July 2016!
      See if yours is among those mentioned!

      2.) From: “Townhall.com”
      by Brent Bozell | July 13, 2016
      titled;
      “Absolving Black Lives Matter in Dallas”

      If you remember, that “sniper” was a “…supporter of BLM and other known terrorist groups!”
      This came out, yet was quickly squashed by the current administration and MSM!

      There are many videos, some ‘streaming live’, on social media. Calling for the deaths of anyone who doesn’t stand with these groups.
      There’s also a growing number of Muslims, in Mosque’s, calling for the destruction of “White America” here within our borders. There are many videos coming out confirming this. One such article claims the “Muslims OWN the Black Lives Matter group!” Another one where the Muslims “…are the new blacks…” in America!

      Google it. Find out for yourself.
      I believe Martial Law is coming, as does many others!
      The wife just read where, in Italy, “…the banks have removed all monies from the ATM’s…” today! Why? What better way to control the population by controlling the money!

      There’s so much out there. It’s hard not to understand what’s really going on. The special interest groups and banks are pulling the strings. We’re just the puppets on those strings! namnibor, remember that song from the late 60’s?

      • I do not doubt that a call for violence has gone out nor do I doubt that some will seize the moment to take action. What I believe is that the vast majority of those calling for anarchy are good at flapping their lips but not so good at actually coordinating anything at all. I further know that the VAST majority of those willing to actually perpetrate violence are cowards and will only do so if they are certain they themselves will not get caught. Not even hiding inside the riot crowd gets you out of justice in the age of portable cameras everywhere.

        In order to perpetrate violence on any scale the people involved must not care about their own personal fate more than they care about the cause that they act in the name of. Clearly we have seen recently people willing to die for their actions, but most are not.

        I do not believe those who threaten violence because threatening an act that you intend to do would be a collosal tactical error and the real people that are willing to carry these things out do not do that I believe. My point is I give the, no more credence than I gave Jesse Jackson with his endless lip flapping. Perhaps I will be caught in the fire but there just is not anything I can do about it if it happens.

        I promise to flip,them the bird before I die…

  7. Is too late for us . My son in law committed suicide last week due to his injuries. He was deployed 4 times to Iraq. He was diagnosed with TBI and PTSD

    • @sheila
      I’m not an attorney, nor do I profess any knowledge of an attorney.
      Yet, if that had happened to me, my wife would be on the phone until she found an attorney who would hold VA accountable!

  8. I all his physical the VA Doctors saying he was able to work, have of his brain was dead. He had seizures like once a day. They denied and denied him, he was like 70 porcent

  9. There was no mistake in getting “psychologists” in the mix.

    The neurobehavioral psychologist is supposed to test a TBI victim over 4 weeks at different times of the day and while the victim is working if employable at all according to the regs. (at least in 1985 when I had a work up done properly and my diagnosis of a left frontal and right occipital lobe damage was diagnosed). These psychologist are a very specialized group and there are far too few to coverer the need.

    The neurobehavioral psychologist writes a report on request from a neurologist. The neurologist then uses the report to make more definitive diagnosis (and sometimes misses important parts of the report that are indicative of particular diagnosis) For example: Gary Wolfe, phd wrote: “Denial doesn’t work for this man…” From that the neurologist should have made a diagnosis of “subtle anosognosia” but didn’t. Therefore the treating psychiatrist didn’t get a key point from the testing for a proper direction in therapy. The need to adjust to dysfunctions that the patient was completely unaware had developed. Essentially like trying to get car keys from someone intoxicated on ETOH.

    It is like getting an X-ray technician to take X-rays and then the radiologist failing to find the item causing the symptom. If the treating physician, in his review of the picture also misses the broken bone then proper treatment will not take place.

    The neurobehavioral psychologist is a highly skilled individual (good ones) and his science is not even thoroughly known by even the neurosurgeons who specialize in the visible and objective symptoms that can be seen in a cursory view of objective presentations.

  10. Political Theater. A show put on by Congress to make it look to constituents like something is being done.
    Unless it has been changed, I thought a veteran had a right to be examined by a specialist during a C&P exam. An ortho doc for bones, podiatrist for feet, audiologist for hearing etc., rather than a general practioner for everything.

    As you point out Ben, they invited the wrong people, which means they don’t really care about the answers they will get, if any. It will likely be lots of, “We don’t know, but we can provide that after the hearing.” Or, “well I just took over as flunky x, but I can get back to you.”

  11. Assuming all veterans share the same political views is a mistake. It makes me wonder if this website wants to help veterans at all. Making money from it is called pandering and disappoints of this website. Anyone intelligent or educated out there knows I m right. YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO RUN OFF ANYONE.

  12. After reading several cases, I am not sure if an avenue toward a solution has been created …. the commonality here is that no one is receiving the benefits from the VA – Vocational Rehab/Employment. Most importantly, just like a class action law suit….that’s what needs to happen. There’s too much information here to ignore when millions of dollars are being stolen from us, not to mention that timing is the other factor….. so I’d like to hear some feedback.

    • There have been class action law suites: Bray V Brown; Bray V Shinseki and many more. The CAVC and the CAFC are on the payroll of the military industrial complex. Read the decisions and you realize the complainants’ filings were ignored in the decisions and that the decisions don’t make since if the filings of the complainants are considered.

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