COURT: VA Improperly Stuck Veterans With ER Bills

ER Bills

Benjamin KrauseAn appeals court just concluded VA knowingly used an invalid regulation to justify denying payment for uncovered non-VA ER bills, since 2009.

In a recent court decision, the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims just held VA was violating federal law using an unlawful interpretation of statute. That statute required VA to pay for all uncovered costs related to veterans’ emergency room (ER) services.

VA surreptitiously interpreted the statute to justify denial of payments to veterans with insurance that would cover part but not all of emergency room visits.

The interpretation resulted in veterans getting stuck with enormous bills following emergency room visits. According to the National Law Journal article, VA stuck veteran Richard Staab with uncovered portion of his bill of $48,000. The interpretation VA used apparently penalized veterans with health insurance:

In December 2010, Staab suffered a heart attack and one or more strokes and was transported to a non-V.A. hospital where he underwent emergency open heart surgery. He was discharged in June 2011. Staab sought reimbursement of his expenses that were not covered by Medicare—approximately $48,000. In December 2013, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals denied Staab’s request for reimbursement of the non-V.A. medical costs.


“After Congress amended [38 U.S.C] section 1725 in 2009, however, the Secretary’s regulation became wholly inconsistent with the statute, and the Secretary declined to remedy this inconsistency,” Greenberg wrote.

“Congress intended that veterans be reimbursed for the portion of their emergency medical costs that is not covered by a third party insurer and for which they are otherwise personally liable, and because the regulation does not execute the language of the statute or the intent of Congress, it is invalid and will be set aside by the Court.”

READ IT: 38 USC 1725

According to an attorney in the case, Bart Stichman, “This is a major win for veterans, and their families.” He continued, “This practice has violated federal law since at least 2009. The court’s ruling means the V.A. will have to amend the unlawful regulations it should have amended in 2009 and do right by these veterans.”

This is obviously not the first and only time VA has schemed against veterans by interpreting statutes in clear contradiction to the language of the statute.

What do you think will happen to the legal team that created the regulation?


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    1) VA allows their employees access to civilian internet on their government computers where employees spend all their time on FACEBOOK, Porn sites, being shills to VA websites like this or whatever the hell they want to do.

    Civilian non-VA facilitiy computers are locked out of the internet and employees can only access company websites and use company software, thus avoiding this type of wasting of employee time.

    2) VA allows their employees to access medical records and change them and even put on new dates or whatever the hell they want to do, knowing this is illegal to alter medical records because they are legal documents submittable in a court of law.

    Civilian non-VA facilitiy computers are locked out of record alteration and tampering. You can go back and add an ADDENDUM to the file but you cannot change the dates or alter the original document like VA employees can do and trust me they will do it. After filing an 11.51 all the incriminating evidence has been deleted from my medical records. (Don’t worry, I have copies).

    This drastic difference is there for a REASON.

    The old English common law that says “the king can do no wrong” is alive and well in the federal government. Its illegal as ever, but the federal government has never changed it, like “imminent domain” which states that the federal goverment “the king” actually owns everything and he can take it or use it anytime he desires. Ask the Bundy’s. The Federal government wanted their ranch.

    You must get “permission” to sue the federal government. You may or may not be granted an audience with the king. If granted, your chances of proving the king is wrong are slim and none since the king makes the rules, your playing in the king’s court and all the king’s horses and all the kings men won’t be able to put you back together again.

    Be sure to genuflect when you enter the presence of one of the king’s men (or women) for they are powerful and carry the authority of the king..As long as the king is on his throne and dictates the laws we must obey or face the wrath of the king.

    You must be rich and powerful to stand against the king which is why nothing happens unless it happens to rich people and nothing is changed unless rich people hire the big gun lawyers and get it changed. They are in a position to challenge the king. Us piss ants are not. That’s why these things happen and nothing gets done. Duh?

    Signed by a peasant and humble servant who challenged the king and has won a few scirmmages but is still fighting in the battle that has not been won. These are unfortunate casualties of this war and I pray the families will take up the mantle and sue the federal government (the king) and win.

    Sandy Hale

  2. Several months ago I posted that the VA is getting away with incompetence, abuse in interpreting laws and down right disrespect and mistreatment of Vets who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East Theaters because we as Veterans allow them too. I suggested that the only way to alter the culture of the current system is to organize and march onto Washington and for those who cannot travel march onto their local VA districts within the national VA Regions. Our country contains millions of veterans and we should let our power be recognized. If we marched onto Washington DC, it would paralyze the economy of the District and expose to the nation how our current system is abusing its veterans. So far as the current Presidential political culture, I do not foresee either Hillary Clinton, who has shown a disrespect for the military, and Bernie Sanders motive to fix the VA is not a priority. The SES (Senior Executive Service) within the VA is a cancer that needs to be cut out. Having experience in the government employ, the VA could substantially reduce its SES and higher ranking jobs with no effect on the agency’s operation. In fact, shedding much of its SES and high ranking positions, would most likely than not, improve the effectiveness of the Veterans Administration and would curtail building of power houses in order to substantiate the need for their positions, eliminate unsubstantiated year end bonuses and would be easier to identify problems caused by SES employees and their high ranking staff members.

    Politicians in both the Democratic and Republican parties are in no hurry to fix the VA. Our POTUS and his regime have spent tens of million taxpayer dollars to make life comfortable for Gitmo prisoners instead of taking care of America’s veteran population. Many veteran’s have died waiting for earned benefits and their survivors/spouses left out in the cold.

    Hell, Americans who had spent about four years plus or minus as hostages were awarded over $4,000,000 each but vets who have died and suffered permanent damage from their service for America get the shaft. The POTUS, Vice President of the United States, Congressmen,Congresswomen, Staffers, VA employees, VA Senior Executive Service (SES) employees to mention a few should only be covered medically for several years by the Veteran’s Administration so that they can experience the same problems vets do because that is the only way they would experience what veterans have to go through.

    We need to organize as a grass root movement. Many current veteran organizations are in the back pockets of politicians which have organizations have to be shed from unless they prove that veterans and benefit entitlement are the top priority and not a means to gain power for themselves.

    To be fair, there are many excellent VA employees and staff but they are in fear of losing their jobs if they expose those who abuse the VA’s mission in not providing the necessary care to veterans and their survivors/spouses. Whistleblowers are punished in order to quash incompetence and evidence of veteran abuse.

    We need to organize and soon, otherwise the ridiculous processing times of claims will only get worse. It is time to weed out the culture of incompetence starting at the top to bottom. Those found who abuse the mission and interfere with the quick resolve of a veteran’s issues. Employees who are found to be guilty of abuse forfeit their pension and serious crimes would subject employees to serve jail time. Also investigation of impropriety should be conducted by an outside source and not the VA’s Office of Inspector General. If any high ranking employee or SES employee who pleads protection under the Fifth Amendment is automatically put on leave without pay, these employees are paid by U.S. taxpayers and are accountable to the veterans and taxpayers. Their legal fees are also to be paid by them and not the taxpayers in cases where the employees exercise protection under the Fifth Amendment or found of misconduct. There is no reason to invoke the 5th Amendment by the employee(s) unless the employee feels misconduct incrimination and/or to protect other employees above them (the good old boy club).

    If an employee resigns before legal proceedings are started, their pension is put on hold and if found guilty they are fired immediately, no pension but they get a lump sum or an annuity for their contributions and employer’s contributions less employer’s contributions for years of misconduct. If found innocent by a jury of peers then they get their pension and/or are allowed to continue service. If employees invokes the 5th Amendment, employee can get immunity if and only if cooperation to expose other SES or High ranking employees who abused the system, however the employee who chose to invoke the 5th Amendment would still be subject to a reduced pension or annuity only for years that there was no misconduct.

    The only way to control misconduct is to make SES and High ranking employees from getting pension for years misconduct is found.

    I am ready to start the march process but I need help from all fellow veterans (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, other war theaters or war era veterans). You can email me at: [email protected]. Enough is Enough, we need to start making employees accountable. In addition, legal fees are to be personally paid but the abusers and not the VA Administration just like the lower staff employees.

    I am tired of same old rhetoric, bullsh**t, committee meetings, reorganization, promise of transparency, training, removal of employees from current position to a different position with no reduction in pay or benefits and the same old Bullsh**t rhetoric with nothing to be accomplished,


      Its useless to protest for better treatment or faster claim times or any of that because all they have done and all they will ever do is throw more money at the VA which they will spend on themselves and put in their own pockets. They will form committes to study it and those committees will hold meetings in Hawaii and dine on steak and flamingo cocktails on VA money meant for veterans. They will hire more idiots who have no idea what they’re doing and will jack up everything and not get fired because it takes an act of Congress to get rid of one of these morons with federal jobs.

      I am willing to march, camp out, protest and draw attention to the fact that the entire VA system of hospital care and claim processing be ABOLISHED and replaced with civilian hospitals, clinics and civilian firms to handle VA claims. Take everything completely out of their hands.

      When the VA and employees think they may lose their cush jobs, fat paychecks and benefits, they will freak out. That is the only thing that scares them. And, truly everything that has been replaced by civilian companies got better. Remember when civilian companies took over the military chow halls, the food and the service got better. Health care with civilian hospitals are superior to VA hospitals and clinics. And, a private firm can process claims faster and more accurate because they actually have DEADLINES. Something that the VA does NOT have. The VA can do it “whenever”. No deadlines.

      Get rid of all those cockaroaches and replace them with civilians and private companies and private doctors if you want real CHANGE. I’ll get my camping gear ready and my sign will say:

      “ABOLISH THE ENTIRE VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM” the other side of the sign will say:


      [email protected]
      Houston, TX

  3. “Claremore Physician’s Assistant Sentenced To 90 Days For Deaths Of 2 Veterans”


    A couple of murder charges dropped to three misdemeanor assault and battery charges and the Physician’s Assistant get 90 day jail for the two murders and loss of his medical license.

    Kenneth Adams was a physician’s assistant at the Claremore Veterans Center.

    The reason for the dropped murder charges is because the longtime investigator Steven Pancoat with the department of veterans affairs wasn’t a cop and instead was an ex-felon so the case was tainted.

    1. Here’s another one from:
      “The Daily Caller News Foundation”
      by Luke Rosiak, reporter

      “Despite Pledge, VA Secretary Blows Off Whistleblowers”


      “VA Secretary Slights Whistleblowers At Troubled Hospital”

      These concern the Puerto Rico VA Hospital.
      How about veterans “…lying around on the grounds in their fecal matter for hours!”

      1. Hey Elf,

        Did you catch the method of death the two veterans suffered.

        Adams, the PA, was on the Internet scouting women for dates when two veterans died.

        Jay Minter was scalded to death in a hot whirlpool and Louis Arterberry had a stroke and laid there with no care for nine hours.

        “It’s in the court records, [that] he was looking for a sexual liaison while my daddy was dying,” Louis’ daughter Glenna Hiseley said.

        Regarding the fake investigator assigned by the VA to investigate the murders it says: “As for the investigator, he pleaded guilty to 26 different counts and will be sentenced in May.”

        Can you imagine being scalded to death in a hot whirlpool the suffering the Veteran Jany Minter must have went through.

    2. @Seymore
      Yea, I read the article, w/video, over that fuckups shit.
      How the hell did the VA have a criminal for an investigator in the first place(?), is my question.
      Plus, this sounds like the way VA gets around prosecuting the worthless asswipe employees, from the director(s) on down.
      I believe the VA knew about Pancoats’ past! I believe they not only knew it, but knew the assistant would get off with a very light sentence. I believe also, VA was complicit in what would eventually happen in the criminal court!!!!!!

      I hope the families of these two vets sue the dogcrap outta VA AND that worthless physicians assistant! Take all of them, McDonald, Gibson and anyone else, in front of a “civil court”.

      In my opinion, “evidence IS evidence” no matter who finds it. Plus, now they have (criminal) court documents verifying that asswipes “guilty plea”! And I believe taking his ass in front of a (civil court) jury. Then describing HOW the vets died. Will somehow break the VA’s scawny back!!!
      Let McDonald, Gibson and other’s try to wrangle their way outta this. Gibson’s “…new definition of accountability…” will be laughed outta court.
      I would suggest to the families, not to settle out of court. Make the whole bunch sit on the witness stand, under oath, and sweat their scawny asses off!

      1. Some big questions I have is:

        Where has the news coverage been on this case?

        Why is it only coming to light now with just one article?

        What happened at the VA regarding Kenneth Adams, the Physicians Assistant, responsible for the deaths of the two Veterans, Jany Minter and Louis Arterberry?

        Has Kenneth Adams, the Physicians Assistant, responsible for the deaths of the two Veterans, been off on paid Administrative Leave?

        Has Adams even been fired by the VA?

        Why is a Veteran being Scalded to death at a VA facility not covered by the news?

        Why is a Veteran left laying to die for 9 hours after a stroke at a VA facility not news worthy?

      2. An even bigger question is why did the Attorney General for Oklahoma Scott Pruitt step in and reduce the two charges of murder to just three misdemeanor assault and battery charges?

        Wouldn’t that have been the job of the prosecutor and the courts to decide?

      3. Hey Elf,

        Here is another article on another case of deficient care at at Claremore Veterans Center.

        “Oklahoma veteran attacked in Claremore Center”


        “Another gentleman came into my grandfather’s room while he was asleep and they got into a scuffle is the way it was portrayed to me.” said Morrison’s grandson and guardian, Steve Morrison

        According to the administrator at the Claremore Vet Center, an on-site doctor checked Morrison each day for three days following the attack and saw no signs of serious injury.
        However, on the fourth day, Morrison started having seizures, and the staff sent him to the Claremore Hospital for emergency care.

        The family took several snapshots of his injuries after Morrison was taken by medical helicopter to a hospital in Tulsa because of the nature of his injuries.

        “We anticipated him waking up and being himself.” said Steve Morrison’s wife, Kristin. “But, he wasn’t even able to stay awake to eat. He wasn’t able to feed himself. He clearly can’t even sit up out of his bed. I mean it’s changed his entire life.”

        Morrison had a traumatic brain injury; a hematoma, bleeding in his brain.
        Because of the injury, Morrison sleeps most of the day. He cannot feed himself or move around like he used to.

        Guess who had to pay the medical Bills.

      4. Hey Elf,

        Here is a little more on the Veterans deaths at Claremore another article and a copy of the the Grand Jury Indictment that the Attorney General for Oklahoma disregarded and change to misdemeanors.

        “Former Employee Of Claremore Veterans Center Named In Murder Indictment”




        “The men lived at the Claremore Veterans Center. Monday a grand jury handed down an indictment against the man who was supposed to be caring for them.

        Kenneth Adams, 60, faces two counts each of second degree murder and caretaker neglect. His wife is the former administrator of the center, who resigned following the deaths.

        Jay was scalded to death in a whirlpool bath in May 2012. An investigation revealed the thermometer was broken and the water may have been as hot as 144 degrees.

        “My husband had his legs up in the air and he was screaming,” Frances said.
        But a multi-county grand jury believes that wasn’t the only problem.

        According to the indictment, Ken Adams was called to Minter’s bedside to help, and knowingly withheld medical aid as Minter suffered. The life-threatening burns covered more than half of Minter’s body.

        The indictment states Adams knew the center didn’t have the adequate resources to treat Minter, but Minter was kept there and died 10 hours later.

        “His last words to me was, ‘They burned my legs! They burned my legs!’ which haunt me the rest of my life, because he never talked to me after that,” Frances said.

        Adams is also accused of lying to the medical examiner to avoid an investigation into Minter’s death.”

        What a very horrible way to die.

    3. Hey Elf,
      Just a few more articles on the Oklahoma VA and the corruption there including the VSO American Legion.

      “Fired Oklahoma Veterans Affairs investigator is charged with 26 counts”


      “EL RENO — Prosecutors are accusing the fired chief investigator of the Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Department of being such a fraud that he even faked the college diplomas on his office wall.

      Prosecutors on Friday filed 26 criminal counts against Steven B. Pancoast Jr., 41, of Mustang.
      Pancoast was fired March 13 after authorities concluded he had faked his credentials and was actually a convicted felon, not a state-certified law enforcement officer. He was originally charged March 23 with three felony counts.”

      “Prosecutors drop embezzlement case against American Legion ex-official”


      “EL RENO — Frustrated prosecutors have dropped a 2014 embezzlement case against a former American Legion official whose jury trial was to have begun Monday at the Canadian County Courthouse.

      David Austin Kellerman, 45, of Mustang, was accused in the dropped felony case of selling loaned World War I and World War II rifles for his own personal profit.
      The U.S. Army loans ceremonial rifles to Legion posts across the country. Legion officials are supposed to return the rifles if a post closes. Prosecutors alleged Kellerman sold at least 39 of the rifles in 2010 and 2011 instead of returning them.”

      “Kellerman was the state Legion adjutant from September 2003 to December 2011.”
      “A gun collector testified at a preliminary hearing in 2014 that he paid Kellerman $200 to $250 for each rifle. “He said they came from American Legion posts,” the witness said. “He was disposing of Legion property, and I thought that’s what I was buying.””

      “The American Legion is a patriotic and politically powerful veterans organization. National officials took over the Oklahoma operations for nine months in 2014 after discovering as much as $1 million was missing.

      The national officials ousted or fired all the state Legion officials.
      Kellerman was identified in court records as the chief suspect in the missing funds. Prosecutors had planned to file another embezzlement case against him over those funds.

      Prosecutors put those plans on hold last year after discovering the state investigator who had spent months gathering evidence against Kellerman was himself a fraud.”

      “Prosecutors also had to drop a drug charge filed against Kellerman after methamphetamine was found inside his home because the phony investigator had prepared the search warrant request.

      Prosecutors had to turn to another investigator to regather evidence against Kellerman.
      That work has resulted in one new charge so far — the obtaining property by false pretenses case. Prosecutors filed that case in January Kellerman is accused of selling property in Fairland in 2013 for $4,650 after the Legion post there closed and keeping the money for himself. He was not authorized at the time to be involved in any such sale, prosecutors allege.”

      “Prosecutors also had to drop a drug charge filed against Kellerman after methamphetamine was found inside his home because the phony investigator had prepared the search warrant request.”

      1. @Seymore

        Yep, the Legion is just one more fake VSO. Just like the DAV, Wounded Warriors and a bunch more! Their all in bed with VA and our “alleged Constitutional Republic” government!
        I have absolutely NO respect for any of them. From this moment on!
        Here in Florida, the Legion is, in my opinion, a fake ass conglomerate of fake ass military wannabes!
        None, or very few, of them ever went anywhere to “Fight for the Freedoms” we hold dear!
        That’s my thoughts on this subject!

  4. Thanks 91 Veteran I am going to print it and get all the bills from the ER visits ect. And fight this …… Why is it we always have to fight to get the correct things done….

    1. Why do veterans always have to fight? Because Congress and the VA have found it to be much cheaper to deny a veteran and hope they go away.

      This has been an issue since 2009…7 years, which is why I mention Congress…who did nothing to fix this. It took a lawsuit by a veteran. One veteran cited in the article was stiffed for $48,000. Imagine how much money has gone to other things because veterans were forced to pay for medical care, rather than it being paid for by the VA as was originally intended. It doesn’t take many veterans to add up to a significant amount of money…say equal to a new IT contract.

      1. I absolutely agree! The VA also does those fun things like: call specific number if you are away from VA hospital area and need to be seen by reg. Doctor. They authorize you, you go see Doctor, then they don’t pay Doctor you were approved to see by the VA, so you wind up being sent to collection because they, no you, didn’t pay the Doctor….. Then you have to go through hell trying to get “non-pay” removed from credit report!
        The VA is BANKING ON VET’s becoming so frustrated with their system, they give up. This has been going on for years to my Son, and he has just about given up after 7 years of being screwed around with on his TBI diagnosis.
        No real disability payments, no medical diagnosis (even tho’ he was medically/honorably discharged)
        Medical records are changed or missing at any given time, depending on who you speak to….(FOA requests have come back twice as “unable to find records”)
        You know the drill…. Nothing ever changes! They just want you to get so frustrated, that you give up the fight!
        One hell of a crappy way to treat the Men and Women who have gone to bat for all of us at home! I think this is whole mess with the VA IS just absolutely disgusting. There is no excuse!

      2. Why is it that the VA needs a 20 million dollar archive? So that they can look back and reflect on all of their good deeds? Or maybe that’s where they’re going to stash all of the Vets missing (according to Freedom of Information Act requests) records?
        I’m so confused?

  5. Does anyone have any information as to whether this ruling has an impact on having to use medicare because VA refused ortho consults to a vet (at the time, 2013) 60% rated for ortho disabilities that led to 2 total knee replacements?

  6. It’s sad that choice and tri west has made the fee basis program useless. With employees that know nothing about care for disabled. Now there is a network of providers have to be in for us to see them. No one has any clue why things are the way they are, and they just blame each other. Small example: my nurse has put in consults for massage, which is an approved pain management according to the VA. But they can’t find any providers because the have to be out of a Physical Therapy office. My nurse has put the consult in no fewer than 5 times now. But they call me and say there are no providers within 100 miles. That’s because massage therapy and physical therapy are two different professions with two different certificates in training and they never work together. No wonder they can’t find a provider. You try and explain that to choice and it’s to difficult for them to understand. I called the VA about it and speak to a supervisor in outside care and I get told its McCains fault, to contact him because they can’t do anything. What a joke. I take 240mgs of Oxycodone 3 times daily, have a Neuro Stimulator implant, am confined to a chair with 340% worth of service connected disabilities and am an R-2 rated, confined to a chair. I’m still in pain and live my life in a bedroom because of the pain. Then I get denied a medically necessary devise with letters from 2 va doctors, for a device I have documented treatment with proven success. Have been fighting to get it for over a year and a half. Finally I filed a claim for malpractice and failure to treat for $400,000.00 for pain and suffering effecting my family life. Because it is the only way you can get an attorney and sue. Remember that Vets. You can’t just sue the VA. You first have to submit a claim form 95 first and wait 60 days for their decision than take them to court. I suggest that if you have a major issue with the VA, and a lawyer has said he or she will represent you, file a claim with a monetary amount your seeking. Good luck to all.

  7. I am a veteran in the North Carolina area and am having ER bills threatening to sue by collection against me due to the Salem, Virginia VA bill processing office not paying my ER stay of 3 days in August 2015. They say they have my bills set to pay, then they send me a series of bill rejection letters with no supporting details on what is being rejected. Have meet with the offices March 30, 2016 to set this straight and am told they have the bills set to pay! Now let’s see what gives????? {[email protected]}

  8. Funny thing. Denied Emergency Surgery May, 2012. They said I could have traveled. $ thousands in bills, bill collectors and ambulance service.
    During my July 2015 PCP physical, my doctor stated she’d schedule me a colonoscopy. I stated I had one in 2012 at a NON-VA Hospital. It was an emergency. She said, after reading my info on the computer, I see you used such and such doctor. Do you want the same one. I said as long as I don’t have to pay again. She said, pay? Why would you pay. I explained it to her. She read; emergency room contacted the VA about whether I could travel. It stated, they informed the VA patient could not be moved. His condition was not stable.
    The denial I received said I could be moved! I contacted Robert McDonald’s office. The Sioux Falls Fee Basis called and said they reopened the case and are investigating it. The next day, “Clark” I believed called and said indeed bssismade the mistake and would fix it.
    A couple weeks later I got a letter denying me again. I immediately appealed that time last August, but I was going through personal problems, my youngest son committed suicide, I lost track of things. When I called fee basis, nobody would answer or call back. Finally in December or January I got a call from a lady in Washington DC VA office saying they were closing my appeal. I called back and left a message nothing was resolved.
    All calls recorded!

  9. So how do I get the VA to pay for the past due in collection emergency room bills I have now? They keep denying them. With this court ruling, they should be but who do I need to talk to to get this done now?

  10. I’m eating out of the same bowl. So I’m digging in harder an danbutting

  11. It’s abusive medical care is all I can say. Veterans complain about it, but who listens? Who cares? It ain’t no telling how many more things that they’re fudging us on. The list is probably a mile or two long. I’m down right tired of being scared to death of VA medical care!…..Not worth fighting and dying for!

    1. My oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of The United States of America had no time limit as I recall. I do not recall anyone saying it would be easy, non fatal, or fun. I took that oath and I will not stop using the tools given me by that same Constitution to persistantly and without surrender do my part as the army of citizens that will defeat them.

      I wont back down until my last breath, and I would rather die than surrender to these scumbags. The worms have infested the wood in America and its time to take out the rot.

      Semper Fi

  12. I’ve had more than one ER visit outside of the VA and always had to pay the difference between what my insurance paid, VA always told me they would not pay a dime.

    Last time was 2014 and my insurance, Medicare!

  13. Hello,

    I have recently had the VOC REHAB counselor tell me that the VA will not pay for an MBA, or to start a business. They contended that in all their years only one self employment track has been approved, and it’s because it’s not a successful rout for veterans. I do not belive they are interpreting the regulation correctly her either. I believe they are taking the path of least resistance, and are preventing Veterans from maintaining a gainful employment with their disabilities.

    1. @Veteran-
      If you have not yet done so and can swing it, definitely purchase Benjamin’s VA Voc. Rehab Guide/Book. He went through all that and through that fighting the VA to actually adhere to THEIR very rules and regs is the very reason why he does the advocacy work he does and more currently. Hope that helps you. You can send him an email as well, the link/icon is on page.

    2. Complete BS. I got Ch 31 to pay for my MBA (2012 – 2014). This counselor is just being lazy. Escalate your concerns. You might also want to get Ben’s book. I bought it to perform due diligence prior to my application. It helps — especially if you follow the directions strictly.

  14. What do I think will happen to the legal team who created the regulation? Absolutely nothing adverse. In fact, I would not be surprised if VA employees received bonuses based on how much money they illegally denied veterans.
    Which raises the question, with all of these “mistakes” made by the VA, when in their history has there ever been a “mistake” favoring veterans? Seems every ” mistake” made has screwed veterans as thoroughly as possible.

    On another topic, there are more and more news articles about opioid abuse in private medical care. If you search using CBSNews and Kostenko, you find an article from yesterday about a West Virginia doctor that sounds exactly like Houlihan right down to patient deaths from cocktails. The story says 7 of 15 doctors lost their license, and Kostenkos is suspended pending revocation.
    Meanwhile the VA is going in the opposite direction and holding a hearing for Houlihan on whether he keeps his job, and his license.

    1. @91veteran–

      That’s all indeed good that some private sector Dr.’s had credentials yanked from over-prescribing opioids and cocktails.
      What’s not okay in private medical sector is the backlash is akin to the VA, if a person legitimately needs even low doses of said meds as well as any of the benzo category, the knee-jerk response is even if many meds had been tried in past and a given patient is doing best they can (quasi-stabilized), they are ceasing prescribing said meds and pushing MUCH more expensive ones.
      That one of many patients is me and what I have been going through. I obey the laws, am responsible, but it’s always Veterans, or responsible Vets or otherwise in private sector that ultimately suffer.
      I for one am tired of Liability Medicine. Taking said meds places that label on responsible patients so am looking to natural methods for PTSD and chronic pain because I am not so much an ‘addictive prone-personality’, I kicked smoking (which is addictive), recently have lost 40 LBs all on my freaking own, but yet when ass wipes such as Houlihan and others do what they do irresponsibly and kill and even elicits addiction by proxy, it’s ultimately those with legitimate chronic medical conditions that pay that price, never really the Dr.’s.
      Just like the VA, the private medical sector is trying to push really hard SSRI’s for pain and BRAND NEW expensive ones. No thanks. I have a paradoxical response to SSRI’s and only one ever been able to somewhat tolerate is the Cymbalta I take for several facets of my health crap.
      It appears like “justice” is done but it’s actually all on the marionette strings of the Big Pharma Co.’s. Houlihan getting reinstated could very well all be an underhanded way of emboldening case law for Malpractice Insurers and keep future Dr.’s right in tha saddle RX’ing irresponsibly to drug-seekers.
      Sorry for long rant but I will say at least the private medical sector properly takes the lengthy time of titrating one’s doses to finally none, whereas the VA cut patient’s off cold turkey. Heartless basTURDs.

      1. I don’t disagree with anything you said nam. My point is doctors like Houlihan and Kostenko acting irresponsibly, the medical establishment over-reacting causing harm to patients who need the medicine or as you said, cutting them off cold turkey, and at the same time ignoring the harm caused in the case of the VA, possibly rehiring him.

        In the end, it is the patient that suffers whether it’s the VA or civilians, because of lousy oversight. In the CBS news article, the increase by many thousands of pills he was prescribing should have been a huge red flag to someone, exactly like with Houlihan.

        The contrast is the civilian world is clearly taking action, whereas the VA still cuts off veterans, but keeps the person who caused the harm.

        Years ago when Oxycodone or Oxycontin were first being looked at as highly addictive, my wife’s grandmother was prescribed one or the other for back pain. Without them she would not have been able to get out of bed or walk. Her doses increased over time because of her tolerance to them, but the thinking was she was elderly, and quality of life mattered and taken in to account.

        In many of these situations, the patient is ignored.

        Which makes me question, if the VA was prescribing all these pain pills and then suddenly cutting off veterans, isn’t that admitting there was no pain problem to begin with but they prescribed pills anyway? On the other hand, if there was a pain problem and they cut off the pills, isn’t that admitting they are ignoring the patients pain?

        It ultimately means no doctor-patient relationship, but one of doctor-bureaucrat-maybe patient.

        It may seem I am arguing both sides. I guess I’m trying to argue for responsible oversight. It swings one direction, and patients suffer because doctors are afraid of strict oversight. It swings the other direction, oversight is lax or nonexistent, and patients suffer, because quacks know there will be no consequences to them.

      2. We are on exactly the same page, 91veteran. What I was trying to convey is what you stated eloquently in that the Dr.–>Patient Relationship has become that of a drive-up fast food window but even more impersonal…until their own liability is on the line then they will act like recommending much more expensive alternatives are their way of “caring about patient”, when to the wise, it’s clearly not about we patients at all.
        Greed on all levels is killing this USA. Obama Care may have well-intentions on the surface, but that too, is that giant sucking sound Ross Perot spoke of.

        I mentioned Obamacare because a have a couple friends on the exact same meds I am on, plus some, at the very same Univ. Hospital, and THEY do not have to be taken off said meds. But me, paying for all my own premiums and copays, RX’s on Medicare, I for some reason am having to. Not all is well as it seems.

  15. Here’s something else just out. 14 April 2016
    By “TownHall dot com”

    “Congress Still Wasting Taxpayers’ Money”
    by Cal Thomas

    It’s about that “alleged monetary sequester” we’ve been hearing about. Which everyone knows Congress is not following through on! Their using a different name to push through more spending our (government) $$$$$$$$$ doesn’t have!

    1. Wasn’t Shinazi heading up the VHA for a short time? Maybe this is one of the top reasons he got the hell outta dodge!? Saw the writing on the wall, so to speak!?

      1. @crazyelf…I also wonder if that’s the unspoken reason Gen. Hickey suddenly resigned. She saw the ship’s impending sinking and got hell out of dodge? THAT still has my brain buzzing because it’s the most tight-lipped the VA has been about anything around a scandal in a while.

  16. So I am commenting again because I am so pissed off. We also have had to go to outside hospitals to get real medical services. Such as cancer center. They don’t pay those co pays either. We have been fighting the VA system for 10 years. What happened to the government. When my dads dad came back from WW1, he had been hit with mustard gas. He died young 52, at our VA. He was honored. When my Dad came back from WW11 he went to VA for care. Then he say things that were not rite so he went to outside care and never went back. So that was some 40 years ago. As well as this, we always have to watch them. They like to call a disease by a name that makes it general sounding or not serious then you look it up and are shocked at the actual disease and the treatment you should get is different then the no treatment the VA does…. And the disease will progress and cause more damage without the proper treatment.

  17. So I call the va hotline number, because it’s after hours and you need permission to go to the Er , or we call his primary at the va. They say go to the ER. My husband is that sick and has over 28 diseases causes by Exposer. So we go usually he is admitted for 3-5 days just to get stable. Well since he has Medicare, age 62. They won’t pay any co- pays. We owe thousands. His credit is ruined. I am going to print this article and have him take it our va. It doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s the va way. Any thing they can get away with that’s what they do, I’m not imagining it. We are still awaiting referrals that they have proble either pasted over or forgotten about…

    1. Mary, the VA claims that if you call them within 72 hours of going to the ER, they will pay the bill. I would hold them to that. I would call the VA within 72 hours, document the first and last name of who I talked to, time and date, and then follow up with a letter to the patient advocate showing who you called and when…then hold them to paying the bill.
      Every VA hospital has a billing office. Get a name and number of someone there and inform them within 72 hours.
      Or, call your Congressman and explain what is going on, give them a copy of this article, then ask them to assist you in getting the VA to pay those bills and reimburse you for what you’ve already paid.

    2. I forgot to add…every VA hospital tells you when you call that if this is an emergency, to hang up and dial 911. Why do that if the VA refuses to pay the bill, or notify the veteran to call within 72 hours?

      The VA spends millions on weight loss and other little low cost programs and pamphlets to make it appear they care for veterans, yet refuse to provide pamphlets or education in this. Like the Choice Champions. Hire flunkies that are supposed to help veterans, then never tell veterans they are there to help.

  18. It’s about time the court system calls out the VA on something!
    I agree, namnibor. That $20 million “Dayton Ohio Renovation” is going to be placed on hold for awhile!
    Only I’ll bet the VA will ‘contest’ that ruling. Under some other “rule” they’ll make up!

  19. Looks like we know where that $20 Million from yesterday’s article of the VA wanting to establish a new archive will be going. Paying ER Bills it should have been paying all along. BasTURDs! Meanwhile, VA employees have received Performance Bonuses on the very backs of exploiting Veterans and interpreting the regulations the way it only benefits the VA…shame on you, VA.
    “What do you think will happen to the legal team that created the regulation?” They will receive a fat Performance Bonus and a -1- year subscription to Jelly of The Month Club and possibly promotions for all. Nothing less for criminals at the VA.

    How about all the ruined Credit Scores of Veterans and Survivors/Spouses from these ER Bills? VA going to “fix” that as well?

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