Veterans Denied TBI Benefits by Unqualified Health Providers
From 2007 to 2015, more than 24,000 veterans were examined by healthcare providers who have since been found by Department of Veterans Affairs standards to be unqualified to diagnose traumatic brain injury (TBI). That may have led to a denial of benefits for thousands of vets. According to the Military Times, VA officials told Congress on July 13 they were working to resolve the problem. But as the VA scrambles to correct injustices done to eligible vets, will the VA also have to revoke disability benefits on the basis of new testing? These revelations have cast doubt on diagnoses and therefore VA benefits determinations, not only for those vets whose benefits were wrongly denied, but also for vets who may have been wrongly approved.
The extent of the problem is remarkable. According to an investigation by the television news outlet KARE 11, only one of the 21 medical professionals who conducted initial TBI exams at the Minneapolis VA was a qualified specialist, defined as a physiatrist, psychiatrist, neurosurgeon or neurologist. How could the VA have been so cavalier in violating its own standards? Dave McLenachen, the deputy undersecretary for disability assistance at the Veterans Benefits Administration, told a House Committee on Veterans' Affairs panel he could not "find a reason” why exams violated VA policy in Minneapolis and at so many other VA facilities.
TBI has been a pervasive problem for recent veterans. From 2000 to 2015, more than 327,000 vets were diagnosed with a brain injury. Roughly 80 percent of diagnoses were for mild injuries, or concussion. However, around 170,000 veterans with TBI have filed disability compensation claims and 75,000 have been approved.
As quoted in the Military Times, Rep. Ralph Abraham observed “The Veterans Benefits Administration and Veterans Health Administration created a royal mess by not communicating with each other… and that senior VA employees once again failed to hold subordinates accountable."
If you’ve been denied disability benefits for TBI, call our accredited veterans disability benefits attorneys today. We will help get you the benefits that are rightfully yours. Call Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, P.C. at 866-866-VETS or contact us online.