The VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities, also known as VASRD or simply “the rating schedule,” has undergone updates regarding evaluations for skin conditions.

The goal is to make more clear-cut rating decisions, and apparently also to “reflect modern medicine more accurately.” As much as I hope that is true, the rating system itself is still based on how well a veteran could hold a manufacturing job… how many of those are even left?

At any rate, this is a positive step that attempts to bring more of VA up to speed. All 15 recognized VA “body systems” have seen (or will soon see) important updates in the rating schedule. This process began last September.

The updates are wide-ranging, and include changes to dental and oral conditions, endocrine system conditions (the body system that regulates hormones), gynecological conditions (vanishingly few women veterans existed one hundred years ago), and even eye conditions.

No conditions were removed from the new skin rating schedule. However, several diagnostic codes were restructured or revised. Some were conglomerated under one category when they had previously been several. Some simply earned new ratings.

The complete list of updates to the rating schedule for skin conditions is now available on the VA’s website. If you are a veteran with a service-connected (SC) skin condition, check out the new breakdown of skin conditions and see how you stack up.  

Claims pending prior to August 13 will be considered under both old and new rating criteria, and whichever criteria are better for the Veteran (i.e. merit a higher disability rating) will be accepted. Claims filed on or after August 13 will be rated under the new rating schedule.

These changes have sparked a great deal of interest among you, the readers, especially the changes to dental and oral conditions. Now, most routine dental procedures still do not receive a disability rating, but the qualifications have changed, as have the overall ratings.

The other goal of these changes is to make sure that everyone who processes the claim has the same idea of what a given veteran’s rating should ultimately be. If that issue gets any easier to solve at all, for any of these body systems and their heath conditions, we can all save a little paperwork.

We could all use a break from paperwork. Am I right?

Source: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5093

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15 Comments

  1. Maybe I’m sorely lacking caffiene but, what in the world does “(vanishingly few women veterans existed one hundred years ago)” mean?

    • It means there weren’t a lot of them. There were some, just not a lot, and those that were, are vanishingly pretty quickly from when the VASRD was last updated!

  2. “[…No conditions were removed from the new skin rating schedule…]”

    Question: How do you tell the VAMC Staff from the VAMC Staph on walls and equipment?

    Answer: Both are indifferent in whom and how they infect but only the VA employee will actually fog a mirror when held under their snouts.

    • The Veterans Consortium Legal Team Wins Federal Pro Bono Program’s 5,000th Case For Combat Veteran

      Honorary Co-Counsel, Judge William H. Webster and Linda Klein, Esq., and Lead Counsel Judy Donegan, Esq., win federal appellate case for combat Veteran
      News provided by The Veterans Consortium, Aug 01, 2018, 08:00 ET

      “WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Veterans Consortium (TVC) is pleased to announce a hard-earned victory for appellant Marcus D. Garrett, a Vietnam veteran seeking justice and access to the care, benefits, and compensation he earned while serving his country in combat. Mr. Garrett was represented pro bono by a legal “dream team” from TVC’s National Volunteer Corps and staff on this milestone 5,000th federal Pro Bono Program case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).”

      “The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program has more than 25 years of serving veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors, helping them win access to the care, benefits and compensation they earned through military service. The federal Pro Bono Program for veterans has been operated by TVC on behalf of the CAVC since 1992. TVC maintains a trained National Volunteer Corps of over 2,500 highly skilled attorneys, paralegals, and related pro bono professionals providing legal services free of charge to veterans and their loved ones in the US and abroad.

      The Veterans Consortium (TVC) is a national 501c3 nonprofit serving the global US veteran community. For more information about TVC, how to get involved, support the organization and our national outreach initiatives associated with the federal Pro Bono Program please visit our website, “www.vetsprobono.org” or contact TVC via email: “[email protected]”.

  3. Titled:
    “Amputees in High Heels: VA Research Zeroes in on Quality of Life”

    From: “Military.com”
    Dated; 2 Sep 2018
    By: “Richard Sisk”

    “Researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs have played roles in a number of scientific and medical breakthroughs that have had a profound impact on modern life: the liver transplant, the nicotine patch and artificial lungs, to name just three.”

    “And now, as they seek to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population of wounded and disabled veterans from the current era of war, VA design experts say they’re going beyond barebones medical needs and aiming to help vets live more comfortably, with technology adapted to their lifestyle and interests. It’s work that requires them to listen to veterans more closely and involve them and their feedback in the development process to a greater extent than ever before.”

    “One example of this work can be seen at the Office of Research and Development of the Department of Veterans Affairs, where they’ve come up with a 3D-printed ankle and foot device for a prosthetic leg to give amputees adjustable heels.”

    “Thanks to this research, stilettos are no longer out of the question for veteran amputees. Outside researchers at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere have developed similar devices, but Dr. Andrew Hansen of the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System said the VA’s “Shape & Roll” prosthetic foot is unisex.”

    “This study focused on high heels, but the results work just as well for cowboy boots,” Hansen said in a VA release.”

    “The adjustable-heel prosthetic was an example of VA’s commitment to research in areas that haven’t been pursued by the private sector, said Dr. Rachel Ramoni, the VA’s chief research and development officer.”

    “Actually, there’s a couple of things going on with 3D printing; you can print a foot for every type of shoe,” Ramoni told Military.com.”

    “The foot-ankle prosthetic also demonstrates a willingness at the VA to take feedback from wounded and disabled veterans themselves on what they need to accommodate the lifestyles they wish to return to or pursue, she said.”

    “Ramoni also cited current research into upper-arm prosthetics for women as an example of this work.”

    “That’s a small segment of the population; it’s a small market,” Ramoni said. “It’s not an area where somebody would say ‘Well, it’s an obvious money making opportunity.’ So it might not be good business, but it’s the right thing to do.”

    “The other challenge with research on upper-arm prosthetics for women is that so little work has been done in the field previously, Ramoni said.”

    “The sizing of the prosthetic is a big deal,” she said, and “we don’t know about women’s upper arm satisfaction, because all of the surveys were designed for men.”

    “The work on adjustable heels and the upper-arm prosthetic research are among more than 2,000 projects involving 3,400 researchers now underway at the Office of Research and Development. ORD operates on a budget of about $722 million from the VA, supplemented by contributions from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and others, for a total of about $1.5 billion, Ramoni said.”

    “The money is being spent with a new emphasis on listening to vets regarding where they want the research to go, Ramoni said.”

    “A Disabled Vet Tackles Design”

    “Dr. Rory Cooper was an Army sergeant in Germany in 1980 when he lost the use of his legs from spinal cord injuries in a bicycle accident.”

    “He now is a director and senior research career scientist for the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center and home of the VA Technology Transfer Assistance Program.”

    “Cooper is also a Paralyzed Veterans of America distinguished professor at the University of Pittsburgh. As such, he is an advocate for what leaders in his field call “participatory action engineering,” or, more simply put, listening to the people you’re trying to help.”

    “Cooper said his frustration with the ivory-tower approach to human engineering grew out of his own experience trying to get a better wheelchair.”

    “I was trying to solve some of my own problems,” he said of his approach to design research. He found that he and other veterans often were in “isolation” from the researchers.”

    “Cooper said that surveys and talking to the veterans themselves are “ways to initiate the design process, rather than having somebody sitting at their desk or surfing their computer, trying to understand what you want.”

    “Designers and researchers should “start by asking [the veterans] … to prioritize,” Cooper said.”

    “He said his current research was focused on robotics, artificial intelligence and what he called “adaptive reconditioning technology” to help veterans participate in sports and recreation.”

    “One such example: a robotic bed. One of the little-known everyday problems for disabled veterans, and their caregivers, is getting in and out bed, Cooper said.”

    “If you don’t have the use of your arms or legs, or you’re weakened, that’s a huge problem,” he said.”

    “The bed is currently a work in progress, but Cooper said the initial thought was to have a “chair-into-bed kind of a docking system, and the chair kind of puts you into the bed while a conveyer pulls you into the bed.”

    “A Secret Weapon: Veterans”

    “The VA has a major advantage over the teaching hospitals and the private sector in conducting wide-ranging tests and surveys that require huge numbers of volunteers, said Ramoni, the VA’s chief research officer.”

    “Veterans are absolutely core to our program,” she said. “Our program is able to make these discoveries because of the thousands of VA patients volunteering here,” and “what we do is driven by their needs.”

    “Outside researchers, she said, often ask how they can learn from current VA practices and how VA scientists get so many people involved in the development process.”

    “We say what we have is not something you can learn; that you have a population of veterans who want to continue to serve their fellow veterans and the entire nation by participating in these studies,” Ramoni said. “It’s just amazing to me how committed veterans are to continuing to serve and continuing to make discoveries that will help everybody.”

    “The Next Big Breakthrough”

    “Ramoni noted that VA’s ongoing Million Veteran Program (MVP) on genome research has now enrolled more than 670,000 veteran volunteers, to make it by far the world’s largest genome database.”

    “In the program, begun in 2011, participants donate blood, from which DNA is extracted. Then a baseline and periodic follow-up surveys track the veterans’ military careers, and their health and lifestyles.”

    “The research seeks to determine whether the genetic information in the database could hold keys to preventing and treating diseases.”

    “We believe MVP will accelerate our understanding of disease detection, progression, prevention and treatment by combining this rich clinical, environmental and genomic data,” former VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin said.”

    “The MVP research opened the possibility for determining whether genetic factors were contributors to PTSD and Gulf War illness, Ramoni said.”

    “Many veterans shared the same experiences in the same places in combat, and others were in the same places in the Gulf War; some developed PTSD and Gulf War illness, others didn’t, Ramoni said.”

    “The question we all ask is, why is that? Are there genetic markers for PTSD susceptibility, or are there genetic markers for Gulf War illness? Genes might help reveal that,” she said.”

    *******************************************

    Only one comment! There should be multiple comments over what was said in this article!

    Lorence Parker1 day ago
    3D Printing of all shoes will eliminate the standard 8, 8 1/2 etc stock shoe sizes in manufacturing. Shoe factories will go the way of the Blacksmith. The group detailed above is a very small segment of Society but the implications for the Mass’es are there.

  4. Video gambling generates cash
    Fraternal organizations welcome the influx
    Graham Milldrum Daily News Jul 10, 2018

    “Video gambling has generated $4.82 billion in revenue in Illinois since it started in Illinois in 2012, with 35 percent going to the hosting organization, which includes local fraternal organizations.

    “We were holding raffle after raffle just to keep afloat,” said Bill Copple, the finance manager for Effingham American Legion Post 120.

    Then the post arranged for J&J Ventures to install five video gambling machines. Since 2012, the machines have brought in $600,277.70, with $210,097.20 going to the post.

    The influx of money has allowed them to continue operation and remain active in their various social projects, said Post Commander David Mahon.

    Veterans organizations in particular have suffered from low enrollment as World War II and Vietnam veterans die out, said Mahon. Younger veterans do not seem as interested in the clubs, he added.

    This money allows the post to continue to support its baseball programs, state events and other local organizations.

    “The Video Gaming Act authorizes the installation of up to five licensed video gaming terminals (VGTs) in licensed establishments where liquor is served for consumption on the premises, as well as in licensed fraternal establishments, licensed veterans establishments and licensed truck stops. All licenses are issued by the IGB, and the holding of a valid liquor license does not, in itself, guarantee qualification for a video gaming license,” according to the Illinois Gaming Board.”

    Full Article At: “https://www.effinghamdailynews.com/news/local_news/video-gambling-generates-cash/article_74558400-4229-50b7-a479-8fcd2295752c.html”

    ________

    • Ohio grapples with problem gambling
      By Kate Snyder | BLADE STAFF WRITER, Published on Aug. 25, 2018

      “Josh McClellan already had a gambling problem when Hollywood Casino opened in Toledo, giving the Army veteran a dangerous new place to play his money away.

      He would start at the tables with anywhere from $300 to $1,500, working his way through poker and blackjack. When he lost too much money at cards, he would play the slots for a while, win some back, and return to the tables to lose the rest.

      “I loved going to the casino,” he said. “I usually didn’t leave until the money was gone.”

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      Josh McClellan already had a gambling problem when Hollywood Casino opened in Toledo, giving the Army veteran a dangerous new place to play his money away.

      He would start at the tables with anywhere from $300 to $1,500, working his way through poker and blackjack. When he lost too much money at cards, he would play the slots for a while, win some back, and return to the tables to lose the rest.

      “I loved going to the casino,” he said. “I usually didn’t leave until the money was gone.”

      Mr. McClellan’s story is similar to thousands of other stories from across Ohio. More than 76,000 people — or nearly 1 percent of the state’s population — admitted to struggling with a gambling addiction last year, according to data from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

      It’s a problem that predates the rise of Ohio’s casino system following the passage of a state constitutional amendment in 2009. And while Ohio’s casinos may have made gambling more accessible, they’re also required by law to generate much-needed revenue — totaling $30.4 million as of March, 2018 — to fund gambling addiction treatment services. Without that revenue, experts said, organizations that help gambling addicts would receive even less funding and would help even fewer people.

      But those organizations are already underfunded while they try to meet the needs of a steadily growing population of problem gamblers. And experts agree that gambling accessibility is only going to increase.”

      Full Article At: “https://www.toledoblade.com/State/2018/08/25/Ohio-casino-funded-gambling-addiction-treatment-struggles-to-meet-need/stories/20180726188”

      _________

      Currently Josh has been through the VA’s gambling addiction treatment program 3 times

      • Seymore,
        Florida does not allow any gaming/gambling in any social clubs, including veterans clubs.
        Many have been shut down on numerous occasions.
        Yet, they continue to sneak these games back into their buildings.
        They NEVER learn!

  5. Big Pharma rents the American Legion logo to sell more high priced Hep C drugs and use even more Veterans in research.
    ___________

    The American Legion joins forces with AbbVie to launch TAKE ON HEP C, a national hepatitis C awareness and testing tour

    The TAKE ON HEP C tour will travel to select events in 2018 and provide free hepatitis C testing and access to VA benefits counseling The American Legion Centennial
    News provided by The American Legion, Aug 01, 2018, 07:13 ET

    “INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The American Legion is joining forces with AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, to launch TAKE ON HEP C, a nationwide movement to bring free hepatitis C (hep C) antibody testing to veterans and their communities. Hep C education and testing are a priority for The American Legion because it is one of the most significant health concerns facing veterans today.

    the TAKE ON HEP C tour bus will serve as a mobile veteran outreach center along the tour route offering free hep C antibody testing with same-day results. American Legion Service Officers will also be available to provide free, expert assistance with VA benefit claims for veterans and their families. Veterans and the community at large will be able to receive valuable educational resources to help them learn about the disease, understand their risk factors, get tested for free and be energized to TAKE ON HEP C. Visit legion.org/hepC for a complete list of dates and locations.”

    Full Article At: “https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-american-legion-joins-forces-with-abbvie-to-launch-take-on-hep-c-a-national-hepatitis-c-awareness-and-testing-tour-300689812.html’

  6. AMVETS rents their logo to health care provider to nail some Choice Dollars. So now VA will not only be paying for the health care but also the middleman fee for AMVETS. In other words privatization is O.K. as long as AMVETS gets it cut.
    __________________

    AMVETS and CareSource Partner to Transform Veterans Health Care
    CareSource selected as National Managed Care Organization to Lead Access to Health Care for Veterans.
    News provided by CareSource, Jul 05, 2018, 11:43 ET

    “DAYTON, Ohio, July 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — CareSource, an Ohio-based nonprofit health plan has been selected by AMVETS (American Veterans) the National congressionally chartered Veterans organization to develop a health care program using their managed care model. CareSource coordinates health care access for underserved populations and has recently expanded its focus to include veterans who face health care access issues. This program will allow Veterans the choice of access to health care outside of the (VA) system. ”

    Full Article At: “https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/amvets-and-caresource-partner-to-transform-veterans-health-care-300676621.html”

  7. I just watched this utube video of Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Ne). He slams the Congress. Which is an eye-opener! He wants to: “Bring School House Rock Back!” Y’all remember that show. It’s a show on how our government is supposed to work!

    Titled-: (please google)

    “Sen. Ben Sasse unloads on Congress at Kavanaugh Hearing!”

    From: “Fox News” (11:51 min long)
    Published on Sept. 4, 2018

    When you watch it, be prepared to cheer!

  8. “https://www.schoolhouserock.tv/Bill.html”
    “I’m Just a Bill
    Music & Lyrics: Dave Frishberg
    Performed By: Jack Sheldon
    Animation: Phil Kimmelman and Associates
    First Aired: 1975
    Boy: Woof! You sure gotta climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. But I wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is?
    I’m just a bill.
    Yes, I’m only a bill.
    And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
    Well, it’s a long, long journey
    To the capital city.
    It’s a long, long wait
    While I’m sitting in committee,
    But I know I’ll be a law someday
    At least I hope and pray that I will,
    But today I am still just a bill.
    Boy: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.
    Bill: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn’t even a bill, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local Congressman and he said, “You’re right, there oughta be a law.” Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I’ll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.
    I’m just a bill
    Yes I’m only a bill,
    And I got as far as Capitol Hill.
    Well, now I’m stuck in committee
    And I’ll sit here and wait
    While a few key Congressmen discuss and debate
    Whether they should let me be a law.
    How I hope and pray that they will,
    But today I am still just a bill.
    Boy: Listen to those congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?
    Bill: Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones. Most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide to report on me favourably, otherwise I may die.
    Boy: Die?
    Bill: Yeah, die in committee. Oooh, but it looks like I’m gonna live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me.
    Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?
    Bill: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again.
    Boy: Oh no!
    Bill: Oh yes!
    I’m just a bill
    Yes, I’m only a bill
    And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill
    Well, then I’m off to the White House
    Where I’ll wait in a line
    With a lot of other bills
    For the president to sign
    And if he signs me, then I’ll be a law.
    How I hope and pray that he will,
    But today I am still just a bill.
    Boy: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a law, the president can still say no?
    Bill: Yes, that’s called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you’re so old…
    Boy: By that time it’s very unlikely that you’ll become a law. It’s not easy to become a law, is it?
    Bill: No!
    But how I hope and I pray that I will,
    But today I am still just a bill.
    Congressman: He signed you, Bill! Now you’re a law!
    Bill: Oh yes!!! “

  9. so my body has developed pre cancerous growths were ever the sun hits it. So far the VA has not paid much attention to it. They have a sort of cavalier approach to most everything but never address it.

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