VA Health Care Death Panel-like Policy Uncovered

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VA Health Care

Reporters from 2NEWS uncovered that 25 percent of emergency claims for health care procedures are wrongly denied through a loophole missed in the current veteran legislation.  According to their investigation, money is all too often the bottom line factor when approving or denying as opposed to need.

Channel 2NEWS has investigated problems at Muskogee VA for six months when it uncovered a health care payment scheme that creates nothing more than a VA death panel-like decision making procedure that decides who gets what care when regardless of need.

As if the wait list scandal was not enough, we now know VA is picking and choosing who will get life saving care regardless of their complex needs. When it all boils down, the most important factor is cost. How is this the best health care America can provide its veterans?

Muskogee VA disclosed its procedures as to how VA administrators decide which health care procedures will be approved or denied. A spokesperson at VA stated a physician usually makes the call as to whether VA will pay for the procedure irrespective of what the treating physician might determine.

For one veteran, this despicable tactic had deadly implications.

Tzipora Pendleton lost her unborn son when VA doctors refused to provide procedures to prevent her from bleeding out during an ER visit. Her maternity specialist said she needed the care at risk of her ability to have her son. The procedures were for a bladder scan an MRI to determine what was causing issues.

Days later her son died and she almost did bleed out, because one physician behind the scenes decided to refuse her request despite her own doctor’s demand that she undergo. She is now barren as a result.

Following the travesty, Pendleton was refused access to mental health care to help her cope with the loss of her son.

In light of these outrageous policies, how is it that VA can boast about the quality of its health care? Is this some kind of twisted joke to lure in America to believe we are being well cared for?

2NEWS will run it report, VA: A System of Shame, this coming weekend on Sunday at 11pm. Check it out.

Read More: https://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/investigations/2news-investigators-find-flaws-in-new-veterans-affairs-reform-bill

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38 Comments

  1. My ER problem wasn’t as bad as Tzipora, poor woman, my heart goes out for you and I will pray for you and your family. I’ve explained my problems many times on this board, I moved from one of the worst VA’s in the country to Indiana. My iron and ferritin is my problem. I (after 2 yrs. at the Seattle VA) still have no idea why I can’t make or keep iron but just getting here my ferritin was 8.6 (low normal 30) they did nothing to help at that moment because they wanted GI to look into it and told me if I feel as if it’s getting worse, come to the ER inform them on your problem and what needs to be checked to help save them time looking for something else. I go to the ER on Fri. Sept. 19 around 7am. I tell them (each one who comes in to see me so they’ll all know what is going on and I think I’m helping them by saving time and letting them know they can see it in my Seattle records) they draw blood. I tell the person doing it what my long time problem is and how I felt in the past and this is most likely it. I’m told that they’re the “Experts” and will see it if that’s what is really happening. so 1 hour goes by nothing, I ‘m expecting a wait because they have to examine the blood. 2 hours go by and nothing. A little over the 3 hour mark the Dr. (who I’d previously told what was going on with my iron and ferritin and that’s what they needed to check ) comes in and tells me he could find NOTHING wrong with me so he was going to release me”. I asked him what my Ferritin was and he told me “Oh, we don’t check that down here and if we did, it would take too long ( funny because I can get a blood draw the same day I see my Dr. and he has the results of the draw including my iron and ferritin in less than an hour) so I tell him that is what I have been telling everyone since I came here that I have had this problem for two years now and I can hardly walk 30 yards now without it making me breath hard. It is because my ferritin is low and my iron is low (38 and should be 45 I think) and that is what helps get the oxygen to your red cells and get it to your muscles. I am not idiot, I have had to go to the ER before because of the exact same thing. He insisted that if they were to check my iron and ferritin it would take at least three days for the results. I got mad and told BS my Dr. has iron results the same day I go see him from a draw I just did about 45 minutes before so don’t give me that crap and lies, you just don’t want to do it and you are making up excuses. He told me again the same thing and said sorry, if you have any more problems contact your PCP and make an appointment.
    This took 3 1/2 hours for nothing.The nurse comes in to take out my IV needle and to give me papers and cut my wrist band off to let me go. The band is already on the tray with the needle beside it and I have my clothes on with my cane and am ready to leave. She could not believe that I took out my IV needle and I told her that I could not believe that this place need toilet paper because there is nothing but s$%t in here. I look at my paper and my diagnosis? fatigue. REALLY, that did not go over well. I happen to see a comment box with a form to fill out beside it. I took it and filled it out and it had left the whole back open for my comment on how well my treatment was and if there was anyone I thought needed to be recognized. I had to write small to get in all my comments about this “wonderful trip to the ER. The place that is there to help you when you NEED it”. No, I was not very nice either. I’d taken it with me and filled it out at the bench outside and took it back in after I was done. And at the top of my voice I let everyone in the waiting room know how I was misdiagnosed after 3 1/2 hours and I hope they get better treatment or they might want to go somewhere else because these people had not one clue as to what they were doing.
    By the way I seen my PCP on Mon. and my ferritin count was down to 6.1 (almost critical low) and I now have the Hematology Dept. looking into this and giving me IV’s of iron to try and bring up my levels. I still have trouble walking but it is getting better. So once again I do as the VA tells me to do and I get nothing but lies and the wrong diagnosis. It’s like a broken record. same thing every time.

    • It’s funny. I seem to have missed this important story on the national news. However, on the day this was aired I think they did do a story on President Obama’s dog turning 5 years old and the great celebration that took place.

      That’s the problem. The main stream media are cheerleaders for the current administration. They might report on a negative, like the Phoenix VA scandal, for a day or two, but then it’s on to bigger and brighter things. The people of this nation are ignorant of what is going on the VA, depending on the press to ferret out these stories and report on them. It doesn’t happen and isn’t going to.

      It’s up to each vet, when these stories come out, to do a cut-paste and send the stories along to everyone in our address book and ask them to do the same. We need to make sure copies are sent to our state and national elected officials, as well, along with a demand that they do something other than offer a few sound bites for the national press.

  2. This is another outrage. According to what the VA has told me, any veteran enrolled in VA health care can go to any emergency room for any emergency and the VA will pay for it. Once the veteran has been stabilized then the cost is on the veteran. Is this correct or not? During this woman’s ER visit, did the attending ER doctor request the bladder scan and MRI? Why didn’t the VA approve it? I’m confused.

    • Dennis this may have changed and of course the VA will not tell you these things you are supposed to know but I had an accident where my right foot was just about taken off of my leg in 2004. It was sitting on the outside of my leg being held on by my skin. Shattered my talus bone (holds and allows the ankle to move in all directions) and the Seattle VA was at least a 2 hour drive and this was something that needed looked at pretty quickly. I went to the local ER and told them my healthcare is through the VA and gave them my card. about an hour later the Dr. cam in and told me that after talking to everyone that they determined to send me to Harborview Hospital in Seattle via ambulance. I was in so much pain I assumed (and you know what happens when you assume) they had talked to the VA and so I said OK. After it was done and 8 screws (each 2 1/2 in long) and a plate in my ankle I was done. I spent almost a week in Harborview and was released. Later is when the problems started to come in. According to the VA fee services, you are supposed to report something like this or going to the ER for treatment and getting released that day and it has to be deemed a life threatening problem (small cut, need stiches go to the VA ER. Cut off finger, go to nearest ER and either get transferred to the nearest VA or get VA approval to stay were you are) the catch that most people do not know is that you must report this to the VA within 72 hours or they do not have to pay (another way for the VA to screw us). I figures when the Dr. told me that “everyone agreed that I should be sent to the other hospital” that included the VA. The ER I went to did not notify the VA at all or even talk to them and I was unaware of the 72 hour rule so I got bill upon bill upon bill. Over $60,000 for all of this not including my meds (which the VA will not reimburse you one penny.
      The stupid thing was when I talked to the guy from fee services, he told me they would have sent me to that hospital anyway because the VA hospital was not equipped to handle something like that. OK so why not pay it? Because I did not let them know within the 72 hour or as soon as you are able (if you are unconscious). So every one out there if you get hurt and go to another ER NOTIFY THE VA OR GET TRANSFERED TO THE NEAREST VA WITHIN 72 HOURS (OR STABLE ENOUGH TO TRANSPORT) AND LET THEM DECIDE (that sounds scary) ON WHAT TO DO. IF YOU DO NOT MORE THAN LIKELY YOU WILL GET STUCK WITH THE WHOLE BILL INCLUDING ANY MEDS AND FOLLOW-UPS WITH THAT HOSPITAL. Someone please correct me if any of this is wrong or has been changed as I am going off of my 2004 injury. Thanks in advance.

      • Much, much appreciated. All, also be aware that some civilian hospital will send you an extraneous bill much later that basically is the dues payment for the doctors’ groups who saw you. No kidding, new medical scam. Think about it-have you ever sent your customers a bill to cover your dues?

    • I have a seizure disorder. Had a massive grand Mal seizure. Treated at CIVILIAN ER. Did call the VA. TOLD TO COME TO VA E.R. . Bad shape. Had to come to a VA E.R. for new meds.Resident would not prescribe the Brand name and inferior medicine prescribed deputes VA pharmacist objection. Had to wait for Chief of Neurology. 2 hours, still bad shape

      • The VA has a formulary that they go off of. It is a list of approved meds for that VISN and I am not sure if the all have the same meds or not but if you bring in a private Dr’s meds to be refilled and it is a newer type med, the VA most likely will not have that in their formulary. The reason, money. These new meds cost more than the old ones they are replacing but to the VA the old ones are good enough for the people who are getting them (us vets) and they see no need to spend 50 cents more on a new pill that they have been using the older version ( which sometimes has many more side effects that the newer one) for 20 years now and it has been working fine ( yeah, we may have had a few deaths along the way but hey that happens). I am not meaning to insult anyone by that comment but that is how the VA feels on using new meds. They don’t care if there is a greater chance of a side effect or an interaction with one of your other meds. Ooops, sorry, here try this one. So to get back to your question, if the VA does not have what is working for you and the you want to take that med then you will either have to use your other insurance (if you have any) or pay out-of-pocket for it. That is just the way it is with our wonderful VA. Screwing us whenever and how ever they can just to save them a dime so that they can get more for their bonuses or incentives. They do not care about us, they care about the all mighty dollar and how much of it they can put into their pocket at our expense. They have no reason to care for us, They know that most likely they will not get fired, they may be asked to retire early and receive a huge retirement package and severance pay so either way they are still getting paid for not helping us.\
        And on a separate note, ask you PCP who long they have been practicing in the VA. If you get a new or newer one then change providers because the VA is teaching the new Dr’s how to write in your records so that it reflects good on the VA and makes the vet the bad guy. This will have an effect on you later if you try to apply for an increase or for disability. The new Dr. will put things in your record that makes it look as it you are not as bad as you make it out to be or if you have a disability, they will make sure that they write something in your record to reflect that that disability is fine and is no problem now. My case in point. My new Dr. wrote in my record that I came in using a cane and I could walk fine without it and I had no problems with my gait. It was normal with no deviation. I have to use a cane to get around, I walk with a limp from my service connected knees and from an ankle injury that healed wrong and no one wants to fix it so I walk on the outside of my foot. Do you think that I have a limp? and that I need a cane? Yes I do, it is extremely difficult to walk without one but according to my record I am OK and if I ask for an increase they are going to refer to this one Dr’s notes about me not needing a cane and walking fine which are complete lies. I have an appointment with the Patient Advocate over this Dr. and her lies. I have all of my records in paper form and can prove that I need the cane (VA issued) and that I walk with a limp (the bottom of my shoe wears out on the outside and the inside looks almost new) New Dr’s lie be watchful and they put things in your record that you may think nothing about but later it will come back to harm you.

  3. figure8fan, Since you told them how you felt, have you checked your file to see if they red flagged your records. You do not state when this was done. It seems that whenever a veteran complains the v.a. likes to flag your records. red flaging records is very stressful on the veteran. I am not saying they did red flag your records, but I am courious as many veterans have been red flagged. I hope things go better for you in the near future. I tell every veteran to get a complete copy of you records and review them and look at the language they use. Please if for just today, let yourself be free from thinking about the v.a. and do something fun that you like to do. I know it hard but a laugh works wonders. I know how you fill in 2006 I had a brain scan abnormal per scan and the records state follow up recommended, it took me 6 years for a follow up scan and I had to keep telling them what was recommended in 2012 another scan showed a T.B.I. and possible cancer of the brain and I was told that the scans have not changed since 2006 and though I may have a slow growing cancer, I was told not to worry about it, since the scans have not changed. How do you not worry.

    • James, Thanks for the kind words but as for the VA I am not sure you can rest a day from them especially when it comes to a disability. I am not sure that they red flagged me for this but I think that I have been recently. I have moved as I stated in my other comment and the Dr. they gave me was a new or newer Dr. She put down everything that I questioned or denied or said no to as I REFUSED (in all caps like that) for everything. I told her that I drink more juice and soda (diet) than water and she put (IN MY RECORD) PT REFUSES TO DRINK WATER AND HABBITTS SODAS (yes all in caps) and I read my updated records and was floored. She even put that I REFUSED stool softeners. WHAT???? She asked if I would like for her to prescribe them and I said “no, I am ok without them” and this is what I got. Don’t think so. I am getting a meeting with the Patient Advocate over this Dr. because she has made me look like an animal. She even put in that I am in “noncompliance with medicine regimen” because of this and she wanted to prescribe notriptyline and I told her I have tried it and even reordered it to make sure it was the meds that was messing with my stomach and it was. The next line she writes “Notriptyline adverse reactions” talk about a catch 22. She has got to be the worst Dr. I have ever had in my 30 years of dealing with the VA medical system. And you want me to take a break and enjoy something? LOL I need more than A break. But no red flag for this as it was evidently my fault for not knowing the 72 hour rule. I was out of work for a year from this now my foot has healed to where I am walking on the outside of it. Trying to get it tied into my knees being rated and this messing up my mechanics when I walk but no luck. Now my other issue, I do believe I have been flagged. not to the point of having the police escort me but I do not get the level of help that I used to get. Good sign of a flag. They don’t feel as if they should help you if you have been a bad boy (or girl Did not want to leave out Denise).LOL

    • I’m sure the VHA is not exempt from EMTALA but the F.Doctrine will most likely be used to block any lawsuits. What’s so mind boggling is that the VA probably spends more money on lawyers and settlements than what they would spend on giving the proper care to veterans.

      • You honestly believe the VA legal fees exceed the total annual budget for healthcare? That just reduces an important and valid issue to a preposterous one. This article sheds light on one veteran’s claim for healthcare. I am not minimizing it’s importance, but it is just one case, of many that likely take place throughout the various healthcare systems in the country. The veteran in question got screwed and can file a claim for compensation under TItle 38 USC Section 351.

  4. To quote that great humanitarian Hillary Clinton. “What difference, at this point. does it make?” The VA will investigate itself, find itself not at fault, and business as usual will continue — just as their latest report claims they caused none of the deaths in Phoenix.

    This is exactly what I warned about when the latest legislation was passed this summer. Politicians can now declare this “fixed” when they face their voters, and the VA will have a few other employees fall on their swords (like Shinseki), and they have bought themselves years of tolerance with the public and legislators. Obama could take unilateral action like Reagan did with the air traffic controllers, but he and his party too beholden to the labor unions to clean house at the VA.

    Am I wrong? Okay — then point to a story that lists the VA employees that have been fired in the past couple of months. Better yet, point me to a story that shows any efforts to prosecute them. The smart bet is that the VA employees who have been fired have simply been forced to take early retirement, and they took these reduced packages in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

    This was a master stroke for the bureaucrats at the VA. Not only have they saved their own asses for the most part, they also managed to secure billions of dollars worth of emergency funding.

    I started this post with a quotation from one of my least favorite politicians, and I’ll end it with one from my favorite band, The Who. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    • His faith over the years it was authority was to be obeyed-yet what extent [SUMMUM IUS, SUMMA INIURIA] A RIGHT PUSHED TO IT;S EXTREME MY BE AN INJUSTICE TO THE POINT, EVEN OF COMPROMISING ONE;S VALUES ; ONE;S PATRIOTISM, TO THE EXTREME OF ENDANGERING THE SECURITY OF AMERICA ITSELF?. NOT GIVING INTO THE EFFRONTERY WE HAVE HAVE AEQUICESEDS THEASE RIGHTS.

  5. The term used by the United States Government is; “COLLATERAL DAMAGE.” Sums it up and “KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.”
    ( just like they do not sanitize a military record or medical record, okay, whatever!)

  6. BEN, or anyone else, I had a call yesterday, afternoon but since I am suffering quite a bit with pain ( why the hell do they not get, pain management will not fix it, gee, since it is my body and have been through all kinds of pain management torture devices and physical therapy)
    This call came from WASHINGTON D.C. The guy’s name was JOE WILSON PHONE NUMBER 202-461-7252. He stated he too was a Veteran and getting my info out there I think?
    LET ME EXPLAIN, I AM HAVING THE WORST TIME TRYING TO FIND SOMEONE WHO CAN COME TO ME AND HELP ME DEAL WITH TONS OF PAPERWORK. I MAY HAVE A DAY TO DO THE THING I MISS AND IS TORTURE DRIVE. I CALLED THAT WE GIVE A SHIT NUMBER ( not really, but if they repeat the mantra enough, then damn, they believe it) THEY GAVE ME A NUMBER TO CALL-I CALLED IT, THEY DO NOT HAVE THE MAN POWER TO SEND SOMEONE HERE BUT CAN HELP OVER THE PHONE-PROBLEM, I GET FRUSTRATED EASY ENOUGH, BECAUSE THE PAIN DOES EFFECT MY ABILITY TO THINK, A NEW THING THANK YOU FIBROMYALGIA.
    THE PAIN KEEPS IT KICKED IN GEAR SO MY ABILITY TO ACTUALLY FIND THE WORDS I MOST DEFINITELY CAN SEE TO FORM A SENTENCE WILL NOT COME OUT LIKE I WISH THEM TO. THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM, I NEED TO SEND IN MY DENIED CLAIM ON MY BACK WHICH DID HAPPEN IN SERVICE BUT COULDNT GET IT EVALUATED BACK THEN-LONG STORY.

    PLEASE, IF ANYONE CAN TELL ME WHO EXACTLY THIS PERSON IS, JOE WILSON FROM THE D.C., AREA HIS ROLE OR FUNCTION I WOULD APPRECIATE THE HELP. ALSO I AM IN THE DALLAS AREA SO IF ANYONE KNOWS WHO CAN COME AND HELP ME I WOULD APPRECIATE THAT TOO.
    MY SHORT TERM MEMORY ITS STRANGE HOW IT IS EFFECTED. YOU CAN REMEMBER SOME THINGS THEN YOU CANNOT REMEMBER OTHERS. IT SEEMS I KEEP HITTING DEAD ENDS AND HERE VSO ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED, NOT A JOKE IT APPEARS TO BE A FACT? IT IS TEXAS AND JUST SO YOU KNOW RICK PERRY AND HIS BUDDY GREG ABBOTT HAVE MANAGED TO GIVE OUT $222 MILLION TO COMPANIES WHO HAD NOT ASKED FOR IT, MORE MONEY FOR THE CRONIES IN THIS STATE SO I SHOULD TRUST IT AGAIN HOW? (JUST STATING THE FACTS UNCOVERED BY A NEWSPAPER THAT IS NOT HIDING NOR WILL BE RULED BY THE KOCH BROTHERS OR KARL “HAM” ROVE! )

    • I have been helping a veteran with her paper work, if it pertains to your claim, check out most law schools have now a department for veterans. they will give you advice or the required advice on what you are trying to accomplish as far as some one helping you with your paper work, that seems to be a big problem with disabled veterans, from the home loans that are out right scams. to the home care that they are denied. let alone the legal help.

      • Mr. Hall, “thank you.” I will try that. I’ve been saving what BEN has sent me. I can read it, but, as stated, this new thing really is a big frustration. I’ve told them several damn times that I should have a CT-Scan with contrast, even a phone message that they would. Lied. This really is several claims, the official complaint and the “we sent it to you in August,” lies too. I had a device implanted called a cage. It appears the FDA was mislead-gee, not hard to do. Paid millions to doctors stating artificial bone growth-well, besides extreme pain, signs of more going on, spinal fluid leaking, and migraines that are like a hang over ( would be nice!) I will be fine then all of a sudden I get dizzy and fall. You tell these damn idiots look into this, am I just too damn weird I enjoy medical science and psychology news? I feel all that has happened is a circle of doing nothing but the same. I fear not sending my records to anyone who can read the idiots who lie. Heck-“do you think any of them would enjoy a lie detector test to see if I lie or they have?” This damn thing can cause cancer, so as they continue to ignore “FACTS” and not hearing, it becomes a problem. I have adult children, and my youngest is the only one who can be as rational as me. But he is extremely busy with work, learning new things with his job, ( geeks who hate apples 🙂 I have till November to reclaim my back. I feel like a dirty low down trick was done calling me and waking me up from the dead on a Saturday, all I heard was my back, so a known “sleep talker” I stated yes yes fix my back please. Don’t remember much more. When I woke up, I thought it was a dream, but no, a call. I record my voice so I know something. Truly? I am damn tired of TEXAS. Judge me for how I dressed as a teen, sorry, you know us “tree huggers” in California we are a different breed. I am going to talk to this guy in the pain management department, and tell him your “memo” you got should have stated, this is way more and I need a spine neurosurgeon. You know, it’s a damn shame when the “director” goes on faux pas views and states no problems-but won’t take calls nor admit to the settled law suits? As a t-shirt I have-“if you can’t take the heat, don’t tickle the dragon,” or “Sarcasm is the body’s natural defense against stupidity.” Yes, I am that bad. The thing is, I do know how to keep calm and carry on, but, a fire burns that justice for all Veterans is carried out without lies, deceit, and the inept professionals “who change a diagnosis” because you just asked a question? Make appointments when you’ve stated you can’t handle the drive so it makes you look like you erre. Just tired of the silly games, I wish to talk with “grown ups” not ones dressed up like its a “MARDI GRAS” EVENT!

      • Denise, I know that we both have very verbally put how we have been treated by the “wonderful” VA. If I was closer to you, I would come over and help you on anything I could because you are a fellow vet how needs another fellow disabled vets help. I would have no problem in trying to get you the help you need as well as help you get any paperwork for this stupid VA to them and hopefully you would see some results. I had to do my own paperwork and get all of the paperwork that the VA uses to deny (and how they use what you have to twist it into a denial) and I was with the VFW as my rep. The woman I was put with had the brain of a rock. She is so stupid that I will call her on Mon. and she will return that call two to three times in the same week. I have to tell her that we have already went over this and she wants me to come in the office to make sure that we have things done. NO, I have it under control. After my first phone call from her I knew I had to dot his to get an increase. as she was going to be satisfied if I got nothing to maybe 10% ( she got paid the same if I got nothing or a billion percent increase so why should she care) I asked her on that first phone call what I could appeal as it had been five years at that point and she said everything that has taken place directly involving your knees. later she told me “oh no, you can only show anything that is on the paper that you are appealing” WHAT? So I became a civilian lawyer (that’s what I call it and got everything I could that had to do with appeals including cases that were directly involved with me and my problems all the rules, regulations and codes. after all of this and surprising her at our VBA meeting with my own version of what I felt should be looked into and what and why I should get an increase I went from a 20% to an increase of 40% and I am still waiting on three more that may take me to 70% when all said and done not to mention the six year now back pay. So I would help if I was closer and hopefully someone will because the organizations will not. They get the same paycheck every week if they help nobody or 100 vets that week. They are the ones who need an incentive or bonus so they can help us get the increase we so deserve. Sorry, I could not help you but maybe some other vet will step up and help their fellow vet. It is what we are supposed to do as vets, help one another. Keep fighting as I know you will. I will not let them get over on me and I don’t think you will either. Go get’em girl. Good luck and God bless.

  7. ERICMAN, I believe 38USC351 deals with injuries suffered while under VA hospital care and that, yes I agree, you can file a claim as if the injury was service connected. And yes, you are going to get in line like the million other veterans/claimants do. Filing a claim for compensation for service-connected injuries is not the same as filing a lawsuit for the hospital’s denial of care under EMTALA. In the civilian healthcare sector, the patient who was denied care sues the hospital, he/she does not file a claim. Also, I was not comparing the VA’s legal fees against the VA’s healthcare budget. I used the term “proper care” to denote that the amount of money used on lawyers and settlements to fend off lawsuits arising from the VA’s own negligence, incompetence, and other illegal activities, should be more than enough to bridge the budget gap, if any, between shitty care and “proper care” for every eligible veteran.

    • Unless the law changed since 2000, if a veteran is awarded compensation under 38USC351 and succeeds with a tort claim for specified damages, the veteran will not get the compensation until the amount paid from the tort claim is recouped by withholding compensation.

      I don’t understand the inference behind ‘getting in line like all the others’ to file a 351 claim. It is a legitimate avenue of redress for veterans. it is of course difficult to prove but I saw some awarded and without apparent prejudice or delay.

      There will be instances of injury or death while treated by the VA just as with any medical entity. I only object to blanket crucifixion of the VA just because there are instances of erroneous or delayed claims adjudication, medical malpractice.

      No. I never worked for the VA.

  8. This is so sad. I don’t understand how the VA justified or got away with denying her anything. I cannot imagine anyone even wanting to.

  9. Why should the VA take responsibility for paying a private hospital emergency trearment bill if the condition treated is not service connected? We veterans may use the VA healthcare system even exclusively but we do not pay for it as with most programs, such as with whatever insurance your employer contracts. Those of us who get VA compensation at the 100% rate do receive priority care for all SC & NSC conditions and that extends, or used to extend, to emergency care by non VA providers. But for veterans with combined evaluations of less than 50% priority treatment is for service connected conditions only. It seems like some people think that every veteran should be able to get treatment from the VA for any and everything. That is untrue of course. It is our responsibility to know the rules that apply to our benefit eligibility.

    • ericman, did you sign the paper to enlist in whatever branch of your choosing? Did you go to training and then be put in a base somewhere on this planet? Did you get hurt while in service? (that one does not mean that you are different from other in the aspect of getting care from the VA Just using it to prove a point)? Did you serve your required time unless discharged for an injury? Do you consider yourself a Vet? If you answered yes to many if not all of these then YOU HAVE PAID TO SUE THESE SERVICES AVAILABLE TO YOU. ANY OF THEM. If you need to go to an ER and a private one is closer then you go there and the VA should pay for it. The VA is your healthcare system (even as lousy as it is) and we as vets have paid for the use of it from our service in the military. It is so different from the civilian world. Just make sure you report it to the VA within the 72 hour window or when you are stable enough to do so. That being said, the VA does have the right to refuse to pay for a civilian ER if the visit was not life threatening and a VA facility was feasible. You should go there first if at all possible. Like I have said, cut your finger that needs stitches, go to the VA ER. Cut off finger that maybe can be re-attached, go to the nearest ER and inform the VA within the time frame and all should work out fine. Life-threatening injuries, go to the nearest ER and inform the VA within the time frame. Non-life threatening injuries, go to the nearest VA ER to seek treatment. That is how it was explained in the rules and I know because I have had to use this closest ER thing and did not know about the notification timeframe and the result? I am to pay the hospital I went to over $60,000.00 plus what my meds were ( the VA will not cover meds prescribed by another provider in the ER thing. Get them filled through the VA or payout of your pocket).

      • You are 100% in error. I was medically retired for injuries sustained in Vietnam in 1968. I spent most of my working years as a National Service Officer for the DAV. You are guaranteed anything by serving in the military except for what the law provides. The VA healthcare system is based on a strict priority basis, and no matter how many years one serves in the military the determining factor in eligibility for treatment is whether the condition requiring treatment has been adjudicated vy the VA as service connected. There may be exceptions made but not manyy and there should not be many. Services by and through the VA healthcare system must first take care of those vets who are service connected. That has been the law and practice for many years. Requiring the VA to pick up the tab for anything for any vet makes it into a welfare system innstead of the priority system serving vets first who were disabled by military service.

      • Are you kidding how can a veteran become service connected when the Regional office hides records for 40 years that a service member had been shot in the head. Go ahead and show your true colors. Shame on you to for blaming the veteran. Yes after 40 years and after hiring a private attorney it was revealed that the r/o had those records all along. Proof real proof.

      • I am glad you got your claim approved. I know there were instnces of VA employess, even lawyers in Washington DC, hiding or even throwing away vets records. There was an employee in the VARO in San Francisco during the 1980’s who was arrested and sent to federal prison for creating false vets accounts and sending checks to his own bank account. There are crooks everywhere and I do not defend hem. But, I defend the great majority of VA employees who do a good job and who want to help vets. My point is that the process is slowed greatly by focusing on the exceptions instead of improving a system that is by any criteria better than any other country’s.

        My colors have always been to see that each vet or dependent or survivor got everything to which they were entitled under the law, whether a VA claim, active duty troop appealing a medical board finding, a Discharge Review Board or appeal before a Social Security Administration Administrative Law Judge. I am proud of the work I did.

        The DAV has changed since I retired in the late 1990’s and I am no longer involved with its activites. if there are problems with it now and it no longer has the same objectives then I cannot dispute that. I just do not know. But, I do know the DAV continues to help vets in ways other VSO’s don’t, such as offering immediate money for service connected victims of natural disasters, a mobile van program visiting every state so vets who cannot get to a VARO to see a NSO can meet with one, the DAV transportation program giving free transport to and from VA medical facilities, representation for active duty personnel disputing their medical board and PEB findings, Social Security appeals, discharge review appeals and I may be missing some.

        Vets seem to want to characterize VSO’s As either in bed with the Va and useless or the best thing ever. The truth lies somewhere inbetween. But, all things considered, the DAV is probably the most respected of the VSO’s by those knowledgeable. I will never defend anyone who lazily or incompetently represents a vet or his/her relatives regardless of what VSO they work for. I am sorry I did not have the opportunity to represent you. Based on what you report, your benefits came 40 yrs too late. I did epresent WWII. vets whose cases were erroneously denied in the 1940’s and later. The VA corrected their errors and each vet got paid retroactively to when the error was made.

      • I am in the process of obtaining all my v.a. and military records and hiring a private laywer claiming a CUE. It may cost me 25 to 30% of what ever they get, but heck 70% is better than nothing. After 40 years of non treatment I finely was able to attend the V.A. Alcohol and durg program and after that the P.T.S.D program out of Topeka Ks and since having that treatment I do not drink and the Topeka P.T.S.D program., let me understand what and how to live with P.T.S.D., I can not say enough good things about the Topeka P.T.S.D. staff. I had one on one sessions with the head of the program, I told him about the v.a. claimimg I had been disruptive and on graudation day and in front of 30 people and my son and his family, he told them all Mr. …… is a good man and he is of no harm to anyone.

      • I suggest you contact the DAV National Service Office at the VARO having jurisdiction over your claim. Tell them you want your claims folder reviewed to see about the alleged clear and unmistakable error. You should ask to speak with the supervisor. Where do live? I can give you the contact information. The provisions of correction of error under 38 CFR 3.105 have not changed since I retired. If. the DAV agrees with you then they will prepare a memorandum to the Rating Board. if it agrees then it will either make a decision correcting the error or refer the case to VA Central Office to correct. If the VA does not concur, then you have regular rights of appeal. If the DAV does not agree with you, get their reasons why and you can then take your case to a lawyer. i am not sure what the law says now about attorney fees allowed.

        If your disability at issue is specifically PTSD you will not be able to get it approved retroactive 40 years because PTSD was not added to the VA Rating Schedule until at least 1979 or 1980. At any rate having a review by DAV Iis your best first move. Finally, you can only claim correction due to error once on the erroneous decision. You can appeal a denial of the error but you are barred from raising the same error again based on the same evidence considered by the VA when it made the disputed decision.

      • Hello, I do not like the word aledged wrong doing, This happened to me and I have asked help from service organiations, when the v.a. falsely acussed me of being disruptive and they were ok with the response the v.a. gave them and let the person who made the allagations answer the inquiry herself. Fox watching the Hen house. Asked for assistance with my P.T.S.D claim in 1973 and they were ok with the V.A.’s response and only after I hired a private attorney was I able to obtain my disability and after waiting 40 years and what I have been through because lack of assistance I had to suffer with the P.T.S.D. and after 40 years find out that the gun shot to the head caused me a T.B.I. that I had to live with and with out care or treatment, it has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I am sure some reps do a good job and really want to help. But in my case they failed. Service rep’s are not lawyers and a lawyer seems to be the only one that the V.A. listens to or face long litigation and know in the end the V.A. will lose the battle, as it would be proven that they infact had all the needed information to approve my claim from the begaining and ignored it. Only my family know what I have been through suffering from the effects of P.T.S.D. and a T.B.I., Do you have any idea what its like to know you are telling the truth and no one wants to listen to you or cares. People wonder when I tell them I was shot in the head, well where’s the proof. You just stop telling people and do the best you can and even with this disability I was able to go from a gs-2 file clerk to a gs-7 administrative assistant in charge of all administrative duties for the hospital after hours and only did so by repation reading over and over the regulations. Served 1970 to 1973 active duty and when I got out joined the Army national guard under the vietnam try one and stood there for almost 6 years as a medic . With the permission of the CO, I went to the state and set it up so my unit of medics 11 total could get the same training as civilian E.M.T’s, 1st time a whole unit of medics received all the requirements needed to become E.M.T.’s on the outside. I was asked to become an officer, declined. I do not know why some people think that veterans whom suffer from P.T.S.D. are nuts or they are very weary of you. This is not a game and ones has to do what they think is in their best interest and there is no bias in the legal matter. A person can only be slapped in the face so long, before walking away from the people who are doing the slapping or stand ideally by while it is happening. I do thank you for your service to those you have been able to help. This is a very scary sitution as one does not know who to really trust, as you stated you have only one chance to get it right.

      • You obviously know best. Sorry I, with 25 years of professional experience, bothered you with a sincere offer to help. But regardless of who you go to to get justice, there will be very little they can do, or will want to do, if you know it all. And obviously you do not.

      • ERICMAN, Now it is clear why you have been a staunch defender of the VA. You pretty much echo the same position that the DAV has when it comes to blindly supporting the VA even in the midst of overwhelming evidence and decades of corruption and criminal activities within all parts of the VA. I used to support the DAV but stopped when I realized that the DAV’s best interest, not the veteran’s, is better served by preserving the status quo: a VA that is not accountable to no one.

      • A typical reply from someone who does not know the law and cannot argue coherently. You pass judgment on my character based on generalizations that have no factual basis. If you hired a lwyer to argue a case would you select one versed in the law or one whose method was to argue based on what he/she thought the law should be? Which has a chance to win?

        I think my former clients and the VA adjudication personnel will have a different opinion o my work as an advocate. I know better than to continue this discussion with someone who knows little of the foundations of the VA, the good work that the great majority of VA Rating Specialists produce and the laws that govern benefits. The VA is not the enemy but becomes such when that is the attitude with which it is approached. I say good-bye to you and hope you have some favorable experiences with the VA. You will succeed more often by approaching the VA with full knowledge of your entitlements under the law and a more conciliatory attitude.

  10. Well, that reminds me. I did have an event that took place, I accidently took a whole new bottle of blood pressure medications. This again, the “deny she has any symptoms of fibromyalgia that effects cognitive memory” proof is in the 19 years of treating me called a real doctor. I was trying to prepare morning medications and my dog came up and her paws got my leg. Well, that bottle did not make it in the gallon size zip lock bag. This wasn’t the first incident but this was the most serious incident. Basically my husband and I are separated, yes, after 25 years a divorce. But, he is worried about me being alone so basically the role of care taker.
    He didn’t understand what I tried to say so I stayed mad to keep up my b/p. Showered quickly, sailors we can do that fast and a hospital not even ten minutes away I was in quick. I could not do that lovely drink because TEXAS gives me wonderful allergies that mornings are spent, well coughing up lots of nasty stuff. It was a 24 hour stay. I doubt that they would release me to the VA because I told them that is where I go. Um yeah, thoughts on that by the doctors and staff? Hell no. Thanks for reminding me of that since they did notify the VA but I wasn’t truly stabilized because of the dangers even in transport could cost way more. They asked the question are you trying to kill yourself, hell I will not go out with pills on purpose! Look, whimp status is not my style, pissed off status of reading “no flags yet, has PTSD/MST -all throughout my visits until I ask who is the person I do one on one therapy with? ( witnessed brought in for this one) and the doctor who never once looked me in the eye but gives out pills? She turns and state she is? I guess I am just damn old fashion when it comes to medical treatment. And being I worked in an ER, ICU, CCU and Telementry unit I think my “expectations of manners is too high for VA standards of care?” Oh yes, bragging rights shall be pulled out, suck it up DALLAS, you guys got ranked higher than ARIZONA! You know, when a nurse states something to me and wants to explain, I say no need worked it. A class that started out with many, including LVN’s ended up with about six of us left. Critical Care Techs, we were trained fast track and believe me, I had just had my last child so this mom was busy. This was in 1989 and that December New Orleans had a pretty good snow fall so our party was short. You see, I think here is a big problem, “customer satisfaction” they feel they don’t have to give it, it’s okay to change records and lie, because who is watching them? There is no oversight that is being done. Sadly, if I could do this to show the over paid goon of a director how I can prove my point-I think it would or may not, shock the hell out of him. As I state many times my “partner” because we are friends, we do our best, but he knows pain means I won’t eat because it isn’t number one on my list to do. Yes, my FOG was on, that was why I was trying to organize. Trust me, I have searched studies from all over, the best come from Great Britian, ( which the U. S., tries to say they work as a team-lies) so most doctors really have no understanding of the autoimmune disorder. But, you see? One mistake, do you think my local hospital wanted to say I was stable and be sent there? Oh, my blood pressure had been fine for awhile, but pain, thanks to the DEA, I didn’t take the ALLOTED amount, but seriously, they are harming those who truly suffer, and sorry for my knowledge but even the New England Journal of Medicine has stated, “those with chronic pain are less likely than any other group to abuse pain medications.” As one Fibromyalgia sufferer stated, the DEA. Could kiss her ass because she needs her medications just to have some kind of normalcy of a life. Okay, I think she said how she feels! ( me? I hate the pain pills-i end up wide awake, yup, that 2% thing and medications-it seems to be a genetic trait!) but I surely will submit my bills-and I want a face to face with this director, wouldn’t it be nice to bring in a reporter too? Especially since I had a distended bladder x 3 months that I had no clue? And this is where someone went in and changed an entry stating a request of hospital records-lies again, and I know exactly who did it too.

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