» VA

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 18, 2016 – The approval rate for disability claims arising from Camp Lejeune-related illnesses has fallen by two-thirds since the Department of Veterans Affairs introduced a third-party process to review veterans’ medical files. Veterans advocacy groups have filed a Freedom of Information request for details about the identities and qualifications of the experts in the VA program. “Veterans could benefit from greater transparency on the VA’s part. The agency should make public basic information about its personnel and the process they use to evaluate claims,” said David Magann, a Florida-based veterans attorney. Almost a million […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 14, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced new criteria on Dec. 1 to increase patient eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program. The change is expected to open the program to about 160,000 more veterans seeking health care at private hospitals and clinics closer to home. VA officials said staff have been granted more flexibility to evaluate eligibility. The changes are effective immediately. “The VA is taking a positive step toward consolidating care among different programs, increasing eligibility and improving its health care services after reports of long wait times at overwhelmed VA […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 30, 2015 – The Department of Veterans Affairs and the government are likely to fall short of their goal of eliminating veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. According to a report released on Nov. 19, the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates there were nearly 48,000 homeless veterans across the United States as of Jan. 2015. The number marks a 4 percent drop from 2014, but a decline of more than 27,000 people since 2010. Officials said that missing the goal should not take away from the significant progress that has been […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 22, 2015 – Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs, resigned on Oct. 16 after the department’s internal watchdog discovered flaws in the oversight of promotions involving senior executives. The VA Inspector General (IG) found that around 24 senior executives were promoted or given new positions within the department. However, many of their salary raises did not “consistently reflect changes in the positions’ scope of responsibility,” according to an IG statement. Hickey was facing a congressional inquiry into the accusations. Hickey stepped down despite the department’s 88 percent drop in […]


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Sacramento, CA (Law Firm Newswire) November 18, 2015 – According to a statement of complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Dr. Jane Doe’s career was promising and there was a lot to look forward to for the future, until Doe ran afoul of Dr. Muhammad Atthar Naeem and Dr. Robert M. Heaney for reporting alleged racism. This case appears to be unique in that it bears witness to alleged racism, discrimination, sexual harassment and administrative actions that prompted Dr. Doe to blow the whistle and reveal the full extent of the story. This story, as told by Doe, […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 13, 2015 – President Barack Obama on Oct. 2 nominated lawyer Michael J. Missal to take over as permanent inspector general for the watchdog office of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Members of Congress have long called for the nomination of a permanent inspector general for the VA, saying it will bring more accountability to the department. In recent years, the VA has struggled to meet the health care needs of veterans and failed to provide timely decisions on benefits, along with dealing with scandal investigations and whistleblower retaliation. “It is unacceptable that […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 10, 2015 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced on Aug. 24 that it has slashed its backlog of veterans’ claims for disability coverage by 84 percent from a high of more than 611,000 claims in 2013. VA officials have used a combination of paperless processing techniques, updated software systems and mandatory overtime by benefits department employees to reduce the numbers. Currently, around 98,500 of more than 362,000 pending claims in the Veterans Benefits Administration are awaiting processing. The average processing time for a case has dropped from 282 days to around 105 […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 6, 2015 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) watchdog investigates fewer than 10 percent of the almost 40,000 complaints it receives annually about problems at the agency despite their potential to harm veterans’ health. VA whistleblowers from across the United States spoke at a Senate hearing on Sept. 22. They claimed the department continues to retaliate against whistleblowers who report wrongdoing. The VA was also accused of failing to hold supervisors accountable more than a year after the scandal broke over wait times at the Phoenix VA hospital. “The VA’s culture of retaliation […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 5, 2015 – A new report shows that although the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has improved its processing of veterans’ benefits claims overall, the office that processes disability cases for Florida has failed to handle claims properly. The VA regional office in St. Petersburg, Florida, is either overpaying or shortchanging the state’s veterans in some cases. The St. Petersburg office processes disability claims for all of Florida. The report was part of the inspector general’s ongoing review of regional offices throughout the United States. “In recent years, the VA has been experiencing high […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 2, 2015 – A new study by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense has found that women in the military are at the same risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as men with similar combat experiences. Researchers examined more than 2,300 pairs of male and female active-duty troops and veterans deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at least once. They did not have PTSD at the beginning of the study. Participants were matched based on variables such as age, race, marital status, alcohol use, combat exposure and military occupation. […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 30, 2015 – The number of medical errors at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has increased over a four-year period, but the VA has conducted fewer investigations into what caused them. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released on Aug. 28, the number of adverse events — the formal term for medical errors — at VA hospitals increased by seven percent between the fiscal years 2010 and 2014. The same period saw the root cause analysis (RCA) of adverse events drop by 18 percent, coinciding with a 14 […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 25, 2015 – The House passed legislation on July 28 to speed up federal payments to veterans who have complex benefits claims and to raise the benefits compensation rate for disabled veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be required to pay benefits to veterans as parts of their claim are processed instead of waiting until the entire case is finished. According to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), the typical benefits claim for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans is made up of eight components. She said the measure would “allow veterans […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 14, 2015 – The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs said on Aug. 10 that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should fire problematic employees faster. “I want accountability faster,” said Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida when he appeared with VA secretary Robert McDonald in Denver, Colorado, for a national convention of the Disabled American Veterans. Miller and other members of Congress have criticized the amount of time the VA has taken to discipline workers responsible for the ballooning construction costs of a medical center in Denver and those accused of […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 10, 2015 – More than 35,000 combat veterans have had their health care enrollment delayed due to an error in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) computer system that automatically put them onto a list of pending applications. The veterans were erroneously put on a waitlist for failing to complete a means test. The VA system requires veterans to fill out a form about household income in order to be considered for health care enrollment. However, the policy does not apply to combat veterans, who are entitled to five years of free health […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 26, 2015 – Richard Griffin, the acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), stepped down from his post on July 4 after facing criticism from whistleblowers and members of Congress for doing little to uncover fraud in the agency and interfering in investigations to protect VA leadership. He was appointed deputy inspector general in 2008 and has served as the acting director of the department since January 2014. Although in his retirement announcement Griffin lauded the office’s “outstanding achievements,” critics in recent years have accused him of not holding VA […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 19, 2015 – The number of veterans on health care waiting lists of one month or more is now 50 percent higher than it was a year ago when the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was battling a scandal over falsified records and long wait times, according to VA officials. The agency is also facing a budget shortfall of $2.7 billion. According to the VA, health care costs have risen due to increased demand by veterans for new hepatitis C treatments and prosthetic limbs, as well as programs for sending patients to doctors outside […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 10, 2015 – Ending years of contention between Air Force veterans and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the agency on June 19 agreed to provide millions of dollars in disability benefits to former service personnel who might have been exposed to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange on aircraft used in the Vietnam War. Veterans who flew contaminated C-123 airplanes after they were used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971 to spray Agent Orange are now allowed to seek medical care and file for financial compensation with disability claims for illnesses related to […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) July 16, 2015 – Women who have served in the military commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of women who have not, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Among these, female veterans ages 18 to 29 are 12 times more likely to commit suicide than their civilian counterparts. Studies show over 2,500 women who served in the military have committed suicide in the past 11 years. Jim Fausone, a veterans attorney in Michigan, said, “Such high veteran suicide rates are unacceptable. Most research has focused on men and […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 29, 2015 – The House Veterans Affairs Committee voted on April 30, 2015, to step up its probe into allegations of mishandling of veterans’ claims at the VA’s Philadelphia office. In a sign of dwindling patience with the department, the committee voted to issue a subpoena of VA records for just the third time in its history. The committee has since December, 2014, repeatedly requested personnel and complaint records from the Philadelphia office with limited results. James G. Fausone, an attorney with Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, Michigan, said the vote was an […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 22, 2015 – The Obama administration’s nominee for undersecretary of health at the Department of Veterans Affairs did not mince words at his confirmation hearing before a Senate committee. “The VA needs change,” Dr. David Shulkin told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, acknowledging a host of problems at the agency in recent years, including lengthy wait times for veterans, lack of accountability, and ballooning construction costs. He said the agency needed “more doctors, more nurses, and greater efficiency from its current systems.” James G. Fausone, an attorney at Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, […]


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