» Jim Fausone

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) 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) 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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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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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2016 – President Barack Obama recently touted the progress his administration has achieved in reducing veteran homelessness and improving veterans’ access to health care. Obama spoke at the annual Disabled American Veterans convention in Atlanta on August 1. “The Obama administration has had to deal with a number of scandals over wait times at VA hospitals, which has led to the deaths of countless veterans,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “Progress should be recognized. However, it is important to make sure that such incidents do not happen again in the future.” […]


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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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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 29, 2016 – The Commission on Care has presented the White House with a report outlining a strategy for transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. The panel conducted a two-year review of its current condition and future outlook. The 300-page report includes 18 recommendations on how the department can improve the quality of health care as well as veterans’ access to it. One key proposal involves creating a permanent nationwide system of public and private health networks that allow veterans to seek medical care from VA hospitals as well as […]


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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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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) May 13, 2016 – An Office of Inspector General (OIG) report has revealed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been systematically destroying documents related to veterans’ disability compensation claims. VA investigators performed spot checks at 10 veterans benefits offices across the nation. They went through around 438,000 documents that were put in bins for shredding at the regional offices. According to the report, staff were found to be destroying claims-related mail at six regional offices. There are a total of 56 VA regional offices. “The findings of the inspector general’s report should not […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 6, 2016 – Veterans groups are petitioning the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer health benefits to service members who received bad paper discharges. A new report shows the VA is wrongfully denying benefits to around 125,000 post-9/11 veterans. The joint report was released on March 30 by veterans groups Swords to Plowshares and the National Veterans Legal Services Program, along with Harvard Law School’s Veterans Legal Clinic. The veterans have been ruled as ineligible for various benefits because they left the military with other than honorable discharges. “Thousands of veterans are […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 15, 2016 – The Department of Veterans Affairs has requested around $78.7 billion in discretionary funding as part of President Barack Obama’s proposed $4.1 trillion federal budget for 2017. The VA’s discretionary spending would receive a nearly 5 percent boost to tackle outstanding health care claims from veterans, among other objectives. According to the proposal unveiled on February 9, the spending plan also includes more than $102.5 billion for mandatory VA programs such as disability compensation. The budget has doubled since 2009 when Obama was sworn in. “The proposed budget increase provides an opportunity to […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 8, 2016 – Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald unveiled a 12-point plan of breakthrough priorities for his department in 2016 before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in January. The list of goals included updating the VA website, modernizing hotlines, improving veterans’ health care access, reducing the disability claims backlogs, increasing employee training and tackling veteran homelessness. Four priorities focused on department needs while the other eight specifically served veterans. However, McDonald emphasized the ultimate outcome of all 12 aims would be to provide veterans with timely care and prompt benefits. “The VA […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 24, 2016 – Federal prosecutors ruled against pursuing criminal charges against two Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials who faced accusations of defrauding the agency for $400,000 and manipulating its hiring system for their own benefit. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in December declined the VA inspector general’s request for a criminal investigation against Kimberly Graves and Diana Rubens. The Department of Justice said it “referred the matter to the VA for any administrative action that is deemed appropriate.” However, Florida Rep. Jeff Miller raised questions about why charges would […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 17, 2016 – A yearlong investigation has uncovered thousands of privacy violations at Department of Veterans Affairs-run medical facilities, clinics and benefit centers across the country. According to ProPublica’s analysis of VA data, over 10,000 breaches have occurred since 2011. The majority of privacy incidents were inadvertent, such as medical records left in waiting rooms or documents sent to the wrong individuals. However, a number of errors involved employees intentionally snooping or stealing veterans’ personal information. The highest number of privacy violations — at least 370 over the past five years — was recorded […]


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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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