» Veterans Law

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 14, 2017 – President Donald Trump announced the selection of David Shulkin as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in January. The decision ended a lengthy search for a qualified individual to lead the sprawling federal agency that comprises a nationwide network of 1,700 medical facilities. Trump said he and his transition team interviewed “at least 100 people” to find the right person to take on the responsibility of improving veterans care. They ultimately decided to look for someone inside the VA. The decision means Shulkin, 57, would be the first serving […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 7, 2017 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must tackle a long list of decisions about the effects of Agent Orange and veterans’ eligibility for benefits. A key issue is whether the department will add new conditions to its list of diseases and health problems presumed to be linked to the pesticide. Agent Orange was sprayed to destroy vegetation used as cover by Vietnamese troops during the Vietnam War. ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot have joined forces to investigate the toxic chemical’s effects on Vietnam veterans and their families, as well as their struggles […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 26, 2017 – Many veterans who were diagnosed with mental problems or traumatic brain injury have received less-than-honorable discharges. But such a discharge can result in the denial of veterans’ benefits, thereby causing these veterans to become homeless, imprisoned, develop substance abuse or commit suicide. In an effort to assist these veterans, the Vietnam Veterans Association of America wrote President Obama asking him to pardon all post-9/11 veterans who received less-than-honorable discharges without the due process of a court-martial. They are making the same request of President-elect Donald Trump. Prominent Tampa, Florida veterans lawyer […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 11, 2017 – Leaked internal documents published for the first time by USA Today reveal that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses a secret ratings system to evaluate its medical facilities. The VA has never released the ratings for public viewing, claiming they are only for the agency’s internal use. They show dozens of VA medical centers are performing at below-average levels. For years, the VA has assigned between one to five star ratings to hospitals, with five being the best. The ratings depend on factors such as the quality of care provided, […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 4, 2017 – Congress passed the Fairness for Veterans Act within a larger defense budget bill in December. The legislation is an effort to help tens of thousands of veterans with less than honorable discharges gain access to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. The bill requires the military to consider mental health conditions of service members when conducting discharge reviews. Boards must take into account claims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury when troops display behavior the military considers undesirable. “Receiving a less than honorable discharge can have serious […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 13, 2016 – Hundreds of Vietnam veterans are suffering from a rare bile duct cancer that may be connected to their wartime service. The former service members are urging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to acknowledge their condition is service-related so that they can be eligible for benefits. The cancer, called cholangiocarcinoma, can be caused by liver flukes present in raw or poorly cooked freshwater fish. Vietnam War veterans may have been infected by liver flukes after eating such fish when their rations ran out. The parasites are commonly found in certain areas […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 6, 2016 – An Army veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sued American Airlines after she was humiliated multiple times and prevented from boarding a flight with her service dog. Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Lisa McCombs was trying to fly home to Gulfport, Mississippi, from Kansas on October 25, 2015. According to the complaint, airline agents refused to let McCombs pass through security with Jake, her certified service dog, despite having valid documentation. The Labrador retriever was also harnessed and wearing his service vest as per airline requirements. “It is disappointing that a veteran endured such […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 7, 2016 – Frontline staff are failing to answer more than one-third of calls to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) suicide hotline. Former hotline director Greg Hughes pointed out that poor work habits, low productivity and other departmental issues were to blame. Several weeks prior to leaving his job in June, Hughes sent an internal email saying workers “spend very little time on the phone or engaged in assigned productive activity.” Some Veterans Crisis Line employees answer under five calls per day. They also end their shifts early despite the sharp rise in […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 1, 2016 – A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) watchdog report released in October has revealed persistent problems at the Phoenix VA hospital. The VA Office of Inspector General documented scheduling errors, canceled appointments, delays in care and other mismanagement issues at the Phoenix VA. Some veterans are forced to wait nearly a year for care, and others are dying while awaiting appointments. The problems have not been fixed since the scandal over patient wait times emerged at the facility more than two years ago. “The fact is many of the original issues still […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 17, 2016 – During the summer the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stopped reporting data on health care standards at its hospitals. The agency made the move despite a two-year-old law that requires the statistics to be shared with a national consumer database. For several years the VA submitted performance data to the Hospital Compare website managed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The data comprised several criteria for measuring quality at private and public hospitals nationwide, including death and readmission rates. According to a […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 13, 2016 – The Army Surgeon General expressed doubts about endorsing the first ever government-approved clinical trials for marijuana as treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “Marijuana has long been considered a controversial treatment,” commented Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “However, it could potentially be beneficial in treating serious cases of PTSD and other conditions among veterans. Increased research into medical marijuana can lead to more understanding about its effects and open up a new realm of possibilities for treatment.” During a meeting with reporters, Lieutenant General Nadya West pointed out […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 20, 2016 – Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet unanimously appointed Glenn Sutphin as executive director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs on August 2. His appointment is subject to Senate approval. Sutphin’s appointment was expected as he was the top choice for the post. The retired Army lieutenant colonel was the sole candidate interviewed out of 310 applicants. Sutphin, 67, has served as the department’s interim executive director since April. Mike Prendergast, the previous head, resigned to run for Citrus County sheriff. “The appointment of a permanent executive director will provide […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 16, 2016 – A new report has found the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spent $20 million on costly artwork over a decade. The spending occurred amid a scandal in which thousands of veterans died waiting for health care at VA hospitals. Open The Books, a government spending watchdog group, collaborated with Cox Media to analyze VA expenditure on art for their facilities from 2004 to 2014. Among the costly purchases was a large courtyard featuring a sculpture priced at over $1 million for the Palo Alto VA facility. In addition, the report claimed the VA […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 31, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has admitted that around 24,000 veterans were improperly screened and given a traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis by VA doctors deemed unqualified to conduct such examinations under departmental policy. As a result, some veterans diagnosed with TBI between 2007 and 2015 did not receive disability benefits. VA officials told Congress in July that the department is reviewing the cases concerning veterans who underwent incorrect exams and trying to settle their disability claims. Officials announced the VA sent letters offering re-examinations to the affected veterans. “It […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) July 18, 2016 – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald apologized for comparing the amount of time veterans wait to receive medical care at department hospitals to waiting in line for rides at Disney theme parks. In his original comments, McDonald claimed the government should be monitoring veterans’ satisfaction with the VA rather than appointment wait times as a measure of success. He said, “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience.” “Comparing veterans’ […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 13, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has rejected around 90 percent of benefits claims filed by veterans who participated in secret mustard gas tests during World War II. The VA received 1,213 disability claims related to the exposure from 792 veterans between 2005 and 2015. According to a yearlong Senate investigation, the agency denied 1,028 of those claims. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri released the findings along with the Arla Harrell Act, a bill that expedites VA benefits for victims. She criticized the government for mistreating testing victims and failing to […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) July 11, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has accidentally declared thousands of veterans dead and stopped their benefits over the past five years. The issue was discussed in correspondence between the VA and U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R., Fla.) when he found that the same clerical error occurred 4,200 times between 2011 and 2015. The congressman received complaints from several constituents regarding cases of incorrect death notices of still-living veterans whose benefits payments were cancelled. The VA asserted the errors comprise under 1 percent of total benefits cancellations, according to recent […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) June 22, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in May announced its purchase of 20 ReWalk exoskeleton systems for a national clinical trial. The multicenter trial is the country’s first-ever study to evaluate the impact of daily exoskeleton use in an everyday setting. The first phase of the trial will be held in VA medical centers in Florida, California, Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia. It will consist of 160 eligible participants who will be enrolled later this year. The six medical centers have already received ReWalk systems for training purposes. “The ReWalk device has […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 14, 2016 – Lawmakers have announced the Veterans First Act in an effort to create a culture of accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and improve services for veterans. The sweeping measure combines various legislation to make the VA more accountable by changing employment policies, making it easier to hire and fire senior executives, blocking bonuses for problem employees and allowing any VA employee accused of wrongdoing to be fired more quickly. The bill will also enhance whistleblower protection. “This legislation will help change the current corrosive culture at the VA by […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 7, 2016 – Senators have unanimously confirmed Michael Missal as the permanent top watchdog for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). President Barack Obama nominated the Washington lawyer to head the VA Inspector General’s office in October. However, Missal was not approved for the key position until after a confirmation process that lasted over six months. His nomination was stalled due to several unrelated VA concerns. “The search is finally over. A permanent inspector general to oversee the VA has long been overdue,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Hopefully Michael Missal will […]


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