Oversight Failures at VA Medical Centers Place Veterans at Risk

The VA healthcare system provides much-needed access to medical care for millions of Veterans each year. Although the majority of VA healthcare professionals are mission-focused and provide quality care to the Veterans they serve, the titanic size of the VA healthcare system permits negligent and sometimes even willful practitioners to repeatedly harm Veterans due to a lack of oversight and accountability at certain VA medical facilities.  As demonstrated in the linked Washington Post article, incompetent and/or impaired practitioners not properly supervised or whose adverse events are not monitored in systematic fashion can harm or kill large numbers of patients at a single VA medical facility.

Please click the link below to access the full article…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/va-inspector-general-pathologist/2021/06/02/cbcf2272-c333-11eb-9a8d-f95d7724967c_story.html

 

Louisiana Widow Prevails At the CAVC on Katrina-Era VA Mistake

In 2018, we posted a blog entry addressing that, well over a decade past Hurricane Katrina, Veterans’ claims were still hampered by mistakes made by local VA offices in the months and years following the disaster. The prior post discussed that Louisiana Veterans who filed claims between 2005 and 2012, or those whose claims were in the evidentiary phase at the New Orleans Regional Office, faced myriad problems including unadjudicated claims, ratings mistakes, and failure to retain and consider medical records, examinations and lay statements, among other issues. Continue reading “Louisiana Widow Prevails At the CAVC on Katrina-Era VA Mistake”

Unrepresented Veterans Beware: SSA Disability Determinations Do Not Guarantee Unemployability Findings By the VA

A recent memorandum decision by Judge Hagel serves as a reminder to Veterans that forwarding a favorable disability finding by the Social Security Administration is no “slam dunk” for a finding of unemployability/TDIU.  Veterans that submit SSA decision letters on their own miss the crucial opportunity to explain at the outset that while an SSA finding may reference several conditions that—in the aggregate—render the Veteran disabled; the Veteran’s service-connected conditions, even considered alone, render the Veteran unemployable.  Continue reading “Unrepresented Veterans Beware: SSA Disability Determinations Do Not Guarantee Unemployability Findings By the VA”

Prostate Cancer and Vietnam-Era Service: What Widows Should Know

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cause of cancer-related deaths.  The VA considers prostate cancer as “presumptively related” to Agent Orange exposure, so that any Veteran who served in Vietnam will have their prostate cancer service-connected for disability purposes. Continue reading “Prostate Cancer and Vietnam-Era Service: What Widows Should Know”

Veterans’ High Rates of Sleep Apnea Linked to PTSD

Studies of young U.S. veterans show that the probability of having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) grew with the increasing severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. OSA is often seen in older Veterans whose long-term PTSD or other service-connected disabilities caused increased weight gain, a common cause and/or aggravating factor of OSA. Continue reading “Veterans’ High Rates of Sleep Apnea Linked to PTSD”

How Vets with “Bad Paper” Can Still Win PTSD Benefits

Veterans who are discharged under Conditions Other Than Honorable often face considerable difficulty earning VA Benefits.   Veterans with such discharges will often receive medical care at a VA medical center, and may have a PTSD or other mental health diagnosis directly related to combat service.   Those Veterans are oftentimes befuddled and frustrated when the VA denies their service connection claim despite the confirmed combat stressor and current PTSD diagnosis by a VA provider. Continue reading “How Vets with “Bad Paper” Can Still Win PTSD Benefits”

What Surviving Spouses of Agent Orange-Exposed Veterans Need to Know

When a married Veteran dies due to a condition related to their military service, their surviving spouse (and sometimes their children) is eligible to receive DIC- a monthly payment from the VA for the remainder of their lives.  However, where Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange decades ago, yet were only recently diagnosed with cancer, survivors are often unaware of the fact that they may be owed DIC payments from the VA.  Continue reading “What Surviving Spouses of Agent Orange-Exposed Veterans Need to Know”

Informed Consent: Did Your VA Medical Provider Warn You of the Risks?

VA Medical Centers provide care to more patients than any other single provider in the United States.  Due to the large number of physicians and medical specialists employed by the VA, the VA sometimes fails to obtain a patient’s informed consent prior to performing a proposed medical procedure.   Continue reading “Informed Consent: Did Your VA Medical Provider Warn You of the Risks?”

Veterans of Iraq/Afghan Conflicts Get Benefits for Burn Pit and Toxic Air Exposure

Many Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered unexplained symptoms of shortness of breath.  Until recently, those symptoms were denied by the VA, as oftentimes Pulmonary Function Testing (“PFTs”) for those Veterans returned “normal” results.  Recently, however, lung biopsies taken from Veterans have linked constrictive bronchiolitis directly to exposure to burn pits, toxic air and debris, and repeated exposure to sandstorms.  Please click the link below to access the full video…

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/exposed-to-airborne-hazards-countless-veterans-struggle-to-breathe-and-get-care

 

Federal Circuit Rules That Pain Alone Can Constitute a Disability

In Saunders v. Wilkie, 886 F.3d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned prior precedent holding that pain alone (without an identifiable condition) does not constitute a disability upon which service connection may be granted.  Continue reading “Federal Circuit Rules That Pain Alone Can Constitute a Disability”