VA Deals With Aftermath of TBI Exam Error

Law Firm Newswire



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 is unclear how the VA overlooked the problem for so long,” said David Magann, a Florida-based veterans attorney. “Failing to accurately diagnose veterans’ TBIs could mean they did not receive proper treatment or the compensation they deserved. However, the VA is taking a step in the right direction by following up with veterans who may have been improperly screened.”

The issue emerged after a series of NBC investigations. The KARE 11 team reported that the VA mix-up resulted in around 300 veterans at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center being denied benefits. Combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who may have suffered TBIs were supposed to be screened by one of four specialists consisting of either a neurologist, neurosurgeon, psychiatrist or physiatrist. Among the 21 health care professionals who performed the TBI screenings only one was a qualified specialist.

The VA is still trying to determine the cause of the inappropriate screenings at their facilities. Dave McLenachen, deputy undersecretary for disability assistance at the Veterans Benefits Administration, explained to a House Veterans’ Affairs panel, “I don’t know if it was a lack of capacity, whether that was an issue at the particular time, or to the extent whether there were enough of those specific specialists available at the time. I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Department officials said new measures have been implemented to try and prevent the error from reoccurring. The VA said it will monitor the situation and consider using an outreach program if necessary.

Learn more at David W. Magann, P.A. Main Office: 156 West Robertson Street Brandon, FL 33511 Call: (813) 657-9175 Tampa Office: 18715 N Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548