Task Force Rebukes VA About TBI Examinations
One task force says VA is intentionally using TBI examination tools that fail to accurately assess the residual effect of mild TBI.
The Montana Governor’s Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council condemned the screening tools used by VA to diagnose TBI of veterans in the state. And the task force is not alone; the Montana Board of Psychology said at least one VA psychology was using “deficient” TBI examination tools like RBANS to assess effects of mild traumatic brain injury.
RELATED: Get The Facts On TBI Examinations
TASK FORCE TBI EXAMINATIONS REBUKE
The task force wrote a letter to the state’s Department of Public Health and Human Services that in part said:
“It appears to the Council that the VA is deliberately adopting a lower standard of care for veterans than that which is accepted for civilians. This accepted standard of care is not always achieved in civilian health care either, but it is remarkable to see it explicitly rejected by the VA.”
GATLIN TBI CASE
The rebuke from the Board and task force come in response to revelations that occurred as a result of failures in the case of retired Army Captain Charles Gatlin.
Gatlin was seen by VA psychologist Robert Bateen who made use of RBANS to assess the severity of Gatlin’s TBI despite three previous comprehensive exams. Those previous exams said Gatlin suffered a moderate TBI with moderate residuals.
RELATED: C&P Psychologist Barred In TBI Case
Meanwhile, Bateen uses RBANS, an inferior screening tool, and concluded Gatlin recovered despite indications that his TBI residuals were worse. Gatlin filed a complaint against Bateen’s license to practice psychology in the State of Montana.
Montana concluded Bateen committed an ethical violation, reprimanded him, and issued a prohibition against Bateen conducting another TBI examination.
Gatlin eventually restored his benefits, but not after an incredible ordeal that lasted 5 years.
VA leadership continues to deny wrongdoing and believe they are correct to allow psychologists to use inferior tools to assess the effects of TBI.
Why does VA leadership continue to deny the common standards of care for TBI residual assessment? Can Congress straighten them up?
BEN, READ YOUR EMAIL STAT! NO FOOL HERE! EXPOSURE YOUR DOING GOOD AND I JUST SENT YOU MORE AS WELL! QUESTION EVERYTHING! #VASTILLSUCKSFORCARE!
Check this article out. There’s also a video. A little backround first. This is the same nursing home which was shut down two years ago. And the patients, 217, were shipped off to Lake Nona, Florida. Where, because no one checked the water, over 100 came down with “Legionaires (sic) disease!”
“Lake Baldwin nursing center to reopen as state veterans nursing home”
How’s that for a well thought out plan by a Congressman Mica? Wonder how much he was paid? Wonder how much everyone made off this “DEAL”?
Y’all know our government’s deal making. Like the one going south with Iran!
Excellent question, Ben. I’ve had a VA neuropsychologist reject the findings of a civilian neuropsychologist. My opinion carries no weight even tho I’ve worked with people with THIs for years. There is a lack of consistent use of standardized assessments that measure objectively the residuals. An MMPI doesn’t work with TBI.
I was retired for my head wound I received May 14th, 1967! I was a Combat Medic and was wounded while attempting to patch up our point man by grenades and other shrapnel flying through the air. As I wrote I was retired from the military (like I went 20 years) after almost a year in various hospitals from the Philippines, Japan and two more in the United States. In 2014 the VA Regional Office in a letter told me “we can’t see in your records that you ever had a TBI!” WTF! There are multiple violations of my rights and I need a lawyer to review the medical records I have. Matter of fact the VA that I ask for various records has now sent me a letter saying they will be charging me .20 cents a copy! FTVA!
Are they saying .20 a copy? Or did they put it in writing? If they only said this over the phone, play along and ask them to send you a letter stating what the cost is so you can budget for it.
If they are stupid enough to do that, go to the media with it and state the VA is charging veterans for access to their own records restricting your ability to get care.
I did that years ago with a Freedom of Information Act request. They were trying to intimidate me so they wouldn’t have to release the documents. They estimated the bill would be around $3,000. I asked for their fax number so I could fax them a press release stating they were charging veterans for access to information pertaining to their health problems.
They waived the fee.
I think systemic is any C&P Exam with a non specialist doctor.They do this on purpose and use an internist on an exam to setup the denial. They have the duty to assist veterans and the VA fails!! Another part I noticed is the contention on ebenefits have disappeared on my account?? I have a Senator looking into that. The retro pay should go back and it seems they don’t want to go back only giving a very low amount?? I would bet all of these are systemic. Ben you have a point that the VA uses sabotage from the CIA manual. Someone should be accountable and we should find out why the appeals backlog has never even been counted as a metric by the BVA??1936 Amended Adjusted Compensation Payment Act in modern day amounts should be used by Congress. The BVA will never end the appeals backlog on their own as they are doing RICO to the veterans compensation.
Well, in Viet-Nam my unit came under a sustained mortar attack one time that went on about 30 or 40 minutes. I believe they said we received around 500 incoming rounds of 82mm. mortar fire. This was on a company sized LZ in the jungle and most of the incoming rounds hit in my platoon area. We weren’t even dug in yet. No foxhole. No overhead cover. Nothing. I still remember feeling my brain rattle inside my head whenever the rounds hit close to me. I remember feeling dazed, but I attributed that to the shock of just being in battle again or something….I don’t know if I got this TBI. I don’t know if I want to say anything to the VA about it or not. Hell, I figure they’re just going to screw over me again like they did before. They’re doing it to other guys!
My issue is with the PHX VA. Got out in 2007 and as of last year, I made them give me a CT Scan and MRi. Guess what, based on Radiology report, Moderate Chronic MicroVascular Disease…..
Can’t fake or lie about that, now can I?
@namnibor (and others)!
I like your idea to “drop [them] into Bagdad, Syria, Lebanon or Afghanistan…” to let them see what our new and improved “…all volunteer…” military is all about.
I would even take it further. Let everyone, from Bagdad Bobbie (that FAKE “Special Forces” puke) on down to the lowly janitor, go to a “Real Honest to GOD Combat Zone!” Where Real Honest to GOD Bullets and Rockets (122’s or whatever their using now) are coming straight at their a$$es on almost a daily basis!
Make these pukes pull “patrol”. Make them pull “point” more than a few times. Make them go out numerous times on “Search and Destroy Missions!” To “Seek out the enemy AND destroy…” them!
Make them go days or even weeks without showering by taking “Whores Baths!” Remember those days? Or not sleeping in a bed for days, weeks or months at a time!
I wonder how many will start crying and yelling for “MOMMY!”
These “a$$wipes” need to learn a bitter leason!
Let’s see them come back “…to the World…” and start complaing, on deaf ears, at VA! Let them NOW deal with the corruption that IS VA!
Also, “draft the women”! Let’s see that happen. All those, men and women, in all parts of VA need to be treated as EQUALS!
Let some “QUACK” doctor misdiagnos them. Let them DIE in painful excruciating ways like my “brother-in-arms” is doing!
He was on “Operation Baby Lift”, AND then he was DIRECTLY involved in the “Battle of Ko Tang!” Check out that FUBAR the Marine Corp. never broadcasted! Because it ended up being a “suicide mission!”
If y’all think I ain’t pi$$ed. Think again!
hello to crazyelf. If my husband were alive today he would say exactly the same thing. He pulled point a lot and was as tough as a coiled spring when he mustered out. 82nd Airborne AllAmerican Vietnam 1966-1968. Whataman. I will love him forever.
@Mary E Free
I hate the VA with all my soul!
The lack of care they give the majority of veterans is egregious. This, coupled with, quote; “I don’t know!” or “That’s not my job!” or “Take it up with your Congressmen!” or whatever “excuses” those pukes want to say is – well, there’s just so much a person can take!
I’m not saying there aren’t any good employees. There are! Their just so few! And, why don’t they stand up for the veterans?
There’s an old saying. If you say or do nothing, your just as guilty as the perpetrator! This is so true!
I really hope and pray the veterans and taxpayers get someone in as POTUS who will fire all of them. Then give us vouchers or let us go outside to receive our healthcare! It would save the taxpayers millions if not BILLIONS of dollars each year!
Rant over for now!
I just took such a test and I couldn’t believe the rationality behind this Dr’s statement! Even with proof positive of incidents documenting and all they want to do is downplay, lowball and screw the veteran. I have 3 known TBI events and they shake it off as if it’s nothing. These people are pathetic and I’m making every possible complaint against dr.s or so called dr’s if they write wrong thing in my charts or reports. I’ve had enough of there bullshit!
If you can get outside specialists opinions. Calling a large teaching hospital NOT affiliated with a VA is best for finding them. I have the name of a guy in the New York area recommended by a top researcher if anyone needs a referral.
As I just told the Chief of Constituents Services for my congressman: you couldn’t make this crap up.
I actually had both a VES doctor and a DRO ask me how could they know a 1250 foot fall with a partially opened parachute caused a concussion? How could it F’ing not?
Back up medical exams with top docs outside the VA is our best bet. The more we can show malfeasance in the claims process for TBI vets the better chance we have.
If you can’t afford outside docs don’t give up. Have someone start calling every medical school researcher you can find. Some have offered testing for free if I could get my husband to them.
He is a glimpse into the future. He has been 100% SC disabled since 1992 but he did 21 years in SOF. Too many injuries to count but many head injuries he seemingly bounced back from in his early years. Then caught up with him at the end of his career. Head injuries are cumulative. Now at 60 they are coming back with a vengeance. TBI is the signature injury of this war and if we don’t get quality medical care in place now many, many families and veterans will suffer needlessly.
Hi Robin Mitchell, it would be great if you could give me the name of the Dr in NY? I live in NYC and I’m getting screwed by the VA here with my TBI. Thank you for your help.
I can send it to you tonight. Is that your email?
[email protected] Thank you Robin!!!
Bad things are normal for VA employees like a parallel evil universe.
At the very same time the Indy VAMC’s newsletter had a piece by Dr. Debra McConnaha their low vision specialist that said head injuries could cause vision and balance (walking) problems and veterans may need help for everyday activities: 2 miles away at the VBA Director Michael Stephens and crew were denying aid and attendance for my husband for the very same thing.
McConnaha declared him functioning at times as legally blind and very low vision at other times. Since there is no way to determine what his vision is at any given moment you go with legally blind. Two other doctors with months of testing and vision therapy have backed her up.
I have it on the record that DRO Katrina Bones said she doesn’t have to take the TBI course that all hospital workers remotely dealing with TBI patients have to. I did in order to understand both my husband’s problems and the VA jargon and what they saw. Yet, she also claims to be Indy’s SMC T expert. Can’t follow Training Letter 09-01. They even put in the denial evidence I sent them a copy.
How can you be a VA expert on TBI if you cannot even recognize blatant TBI symptoms modern medicine now recognizes are concrete and even recognized by most 25 years ago?
Since the VA is Federal and should be standardized entirely, you would think if -1- State such as Montana brought the hammer down, this would be corrected VA-wide…but we have a Systemic Mess, meaning many brushfires within the ‘VA is Burning Paradigm’…(reference to an earlier post I made with analogy of Sloan Gibson playing violin while the VA Burns).
All these VA management types and M.D.’s deliberately low-balling Vets for TBI and anything else need to be air-dropped into Bagdad, Afghanistan, or anywhere in Syria, and see in FIRST PERSON what their “patients” have endured.
Hell, place them in Peacekeepers or Humvees and only use the pretty powerful war-games/exercise “IED Emulation Ordinance” and just see if that has any “jarring effect” on their “professionalism”.
If not. Rinse, Recycle, and Repeat.
Hell is Repetition.
PTSD is Repetition.
TBI? You may not find out until 10 years down road if lucky, when obvious overt TBI Symptoms start to surface.
There must be a special place in HELL for these types.
I am hoping, not assuming, that Captain Gatlin not only got his Disability Comp. reinstated after 5 years, but ALSO back pay FOR those lost five years fighting VA’s incompetence. Perhaps I missed that part of story but glad the State of Montana took the high road for Vets.
I have no doubt that across the VA System, RBANS are still be used and unqualified hacks doing evaluations.
The VA’s Pharmacy Drug Formulary directly reflects how far behind the VA is to the Private Professional Medical Communities.
They keep archaic meds on formulary which means the VA Dr.’s are prescribing accordingly, 10 to 20 years behind what the VA benefits from with Big Pharma Research…yet gives Vets the shaft.
Without knowing more detail, Gatlins case may be an example of a state getting behind their veterans and forcing the federal government to provide the proper benefits under the law.
Some states have very good state level departments of veterans affairs to help veterans living in their states. Some states see it as an economic issue because if a veteran is supposed to get federal health care or other benefits, it prevents veterans ending up in state programs. A good example may be a veteran rated at 20% for TBI, yet should be at the 80-100% level. That 20% veteran may not be able to support himself by working, and because the Fed’s don’t want to provide the benefits they should, those veterans end up on state programs like Medicaid.
Wisconsin had a very good state level veterans affairs department, and California was also supposed to be good. The Oklahoma veterans commission appeared more to be a good ol boys club with squabbles, and I heard Texas had a good program at one time.
Many other states like Colorado think their state veterans affairs program are simply an extension of their National Guard, so they don’t do much for veterans at all unless you may have been in their Guard at one time.
Good on Gatlin for forcing the VA to do the right thing…in Montana. That the VA refused to use acceptable standards in other states should have those state congressional representatives screaming. Both the House and Senate VA committees should be investigating why pathetic care is acceptable at other VAs.
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