Hundreds of Disabled Veterans to Attend Winter Sports Clinic03/27/2015 05:26 PM EDT

March 27th, 2015

 

 

 
 

VETERANS AFFAIRS

 
 
 
 
  VA News Releases  

VA News Release

 
 


  Hundreds of Disabled Veterans to Attend Winter Sports Clinic

Washington – More than 300 disabled Veterans are hitting the slopes this week at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, Colorado. The Clinic, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and DAV (Disabled American Veterans), is the largest adaptive event of its kind in the world and will take place from March 29 through April 3. 

“This Clinic is an excellent example of how VA uses a holistic healthcare model to provide every Veteran with physical and mental treatment options that work for them,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald, who will attend events on April 2. “Through sports and other forms of recreation therapy, we can greatly improve the quality of life for many of our nation’s heroes.”

The Clinic teaches Veterans with disabilities about adaptive Alpine and Nordic skiing. It also introduces them to a number of other adaptive recreational activities and sports. Now in its 29th year, the clinic is an annual rehabilitation program open to U.S. military Veterans with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological problems and other disabilities, who receive care at a VA medical facility or military treatment center. 

“This event teaches some of our most profoundly wounded veterans to challenge themselves to overcome the obstacles they face as a result of their service to our nation,” said DAV National Commander Ron Hope, who twice participated in the event after losing his arm in the Vietnam War. “Veteran participants are able to rediscover abilities and opportunities that they may have thought were taken from them when they were hurt.”

During the six-day event, Veterans also learn rock climbing, scuba diving, snowmobiling, curling, sled hockey and self-defense. For more information, visit www.wintersportsclinic.org.

 

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Contacts:

Jordan Schupbach, VA Public Affairs, at (202) 664-3733or jordan.schupbach@va.gov

Charity Edgar, DAV Communications, at (202) 641-4822 or cedgar@dav.org

 

 
 

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Inspection of VA Regional Office Fargo, North Dakota03/25/2015 08:00 PM EDT

March 26th, 2015

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03/25/2015 08:00 PM EDT


We evaluated the Fargo VA Regional Office (VARO) to see how well its staff processes disability claims and provides a range of services to veterans. We sampled 3 types of disability claims that we considered at increased risk of processing errors, temporary 100 percent disability evaluations, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and special monthly compensation (SMC) and ancillary benefits. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. However, VARO staff did not accurately process 12 of 49 disability claims (24 percent) reviewed. In our previous report, Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Fargo, North Dakota (Report No. 11-03724-73, January 25, 2012) we identified the most frequent processing errors associated with temporary 100 percent disability evaluations resulted from staff not establishing electronic controls needed to request medical reexaminations to reevaluate the severity of disabilities. During our October 2014 inspection, we did not identify similar errors. Therefore, we determined the VSC’s actions in response to the national review plan have been effective. VARO staff established correct dates of claim in the electronic record for 29 of the 30 claims we reviewed. However, staff did not timely or accurately complete 4 of 30 proposed benefits reduction cases. We recommended the Fargo VARO Director ensure staff review the 40 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations within the universe of claims that were pending at the VARO as of August 21, 2014, ensure staff receive training regarding proper procedures for establishing permanent disability evaluations and implement a plan to ensure staff address all pending issues related to SMC and ancillary benefits. The Director of the Fargo VARO concurred with all recommendations. Management’s planned actions are responsive and we will follow up as required.

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Administrative Investigation, Prohibited Personnel Practice and Misuse of VA Time and Resources, Veterans Health Administration, Chief Business Office Purchased Care, Denver, CO03/25/2015 08:00 PM EDT

March 26th, 2015

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03/25/2015 08:00 PM EDT


The Administrative Investigations Division issued a reported titled: Administrative Investigation, Prohibited Personnel Practice and Misuse of VA Time and Resources, Veterans Health Administration, Chief Business Office Purchased Care, Denver, CO

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Inspection of VA Regional Office Manchester, New Hampshire03/25/2015 08:00 PM EDT

March 26th, 2015

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03/25/2015 08:00 PM EDT


We evaluated the Manchester VA Regional Office (VARO) to see how well its staff processes disability claims and provides a range of services to veterans. We sampled 3 types of disability claims that we considered at increased risk of processing errors, temporary 100 percent disability evaluations, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and special monthly compensation (SMC) and ancillary benefits. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. However, VARO staff did not accurately process 21 of 52 disability claims (24 percent) reviewed. In our previous report, Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Manchester, New Hampshire (Report No. 11-03384-31, November 22, 2011), we identified the most frequent processing errors associated with temporary 100 percent disability evaluations resulted from staff not establishing electronic controls needed to request medical reexaminations to reevaluate the severity of disabilities. During our October 2014 inspection, we did not identify similar errors. Therefore, we determined the VSC’s actions in response to our previous recommendation have been effective. Manchester VARO staff followed VBA’s policy for establishing dates of claim in the 30 claims we reviewed. However, VARO staff did not correctly process two of seven benefit reduction cases due to other higher workload priorities. We recommended the Director review the 111 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations within the universe of claims at the VARO as of August 21, 2014, develop and implement a plan to ensure staff take timely action on reminder notifications for medical reexaminations, and enforce the second signature review policies for TBI and SMC and ancillary benefits rating decisions. The VARO Director concurred with our recommendations and management’s planned actions are responsive and we will follow up as required.

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Healthcare Inspection – Delay of Care, Goshen Community Based Outpatient Clinic, Goshen, Indiana03/23/2015 08:00 PM EDT

March 26th, 2015

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03/23/2015 08:00 PM EDT


OIG conducted an inspection at the request of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski to assess care provided to a patient at the Goshen Community Based Outpatient Clinic, Goshen, IN, who died of complications related to metastatic lung cancer. We determined that, although this patient’s metastatic disease presentation was not typical, there was a delay in obtaining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after computed tomography (CT) results showed left rib involvement, and his quality of life could have been improved through an earlier diagnosis. We could not, however, determine that an earlier diagnosis would have changed his outcome. We also determined the patient and his wife were not aware of VA’s Patient Advocacy Program. We made two recommendations.

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Filing is easier. Learn more.Can’t see this? View online.Today, claims become faster, easier and more accurateStarting today, March 25th, VA is streamlining claims processes; to deliver benefits faster and more accurately.Three important changes are now in affect.Informal claims have migrated to a new intent to fileprocess.Use of standardized forms is now required when filing for benefits.Initiating an appeal requires a standardized notice of disagreement form.To learn how the new standardized forms and intent to fileprocess affects you:You have received this message because you are subscribed to Veterans Affairs. Access your Subscriber Preferences to make changes to your subscription or Unsubscribe. Get this as a forward? Sign Up to receive updates from Veterans Affairs. Having questions or problems? Please visit subscriberhelp.govdelivery.com for assistance. If you are in crisis and need immediate help, please call 1-800-273-8255 and (PRESS 1) or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/. Please remember the only secure way to ask personal questions is at https://iris.custhelp.com. Explore VA benefits at explore.va.govSent to denis@labine.com on behalf of US Department of Veterans Affairs810 Vermont Avenue, NW · Washington, DC 20420

March 26th, 2015

Filing is easier. Learn more.

Can’t see this? View online.

See the changes to VA benefits
Its now faster, easier and more efficient to file claims
See the changes to VA benefits

Today, claims become faster, easier and more accurate

Starting today, March 25th, VA is streamlining claims processes; to deliver benefits faster and more accurately.

See the changes to VA benefits


Three important changes are now in affect.

Informal claims have migrated to a new intent to fileprocess.

Use of standardized forms is now required when filing for benefits.

Initiating an appeal requires a standardized notice of disagreement form.


To learn how the new standardized forms and intent to fileprocess affects you:

See the changes to VA benefits

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Requirement of Standardized Claim, Appeal Forms03/25/2015 01:03 PM EDT

March 25th, 2015

 

 

 
 

VETERANS AFFAIRS

 
 
 
 
  VA News Releases  

VA News Release

 
 
03/25/2015 01:03 PM EDT


  

Requirement of Standardized Claim, Appeal Forms
Simplifies Application Process for Veterans

 Washington – With the goal of making the application process easier and more efficient for our Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now requires Veterans seeking disability benefits to use standardized claim and appeal forms. These standardized forms guide Veterans to clearly state the symptoms or conditions for which they are seeking benefits and provide the information necessary for VA to start processing their claims and appeals. 

“This change will help VA provide faster and more accurate decisions to our Veterans, their families and survivors,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “Standard forms are essential to better serve Veterans, build more efficiency into VA’s processes and bring us in line with other government agencies such as the Social Security Administration.”

The easiest and fastest way for a Veteran to submit an application for compensation is online through the eBenefits (www.ebenefits.va.gov) portal. VA encourages Veterans to work with representatives of Veterans Service Organization (VSO), or their state or county representatives, who can assist with filing electronically or in paper form. Standardized forms are a key component of VA’s transformation, which will help achieve the Department’s goal to eliminate the backlog by the end of this year.

There are two claim actions that now require standardized forms: 

1. Veterans’ or Survivors’ applications for disability compensation or pension – Specific forms are designed to capture information necessary to identify and support benefit claims.

  • Veterans filing for disability benefits must now use VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits.
  • Wartime Veterans filing for needs-based pension must use VA Form 21-527EZ, Application for Pension.
  • Survivors filing a claim for dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), survivor’s pension, and accrued benefits must complete VA Form 21-534EZApplication for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits.

2. Notices of Disagreement with any aspect of VA’s decision on a disability claim – The standardized Notice of Disagreement form is used when a claimant wishes to initiate an appeal.

  • Veterans disagreeing with a VA compensation decision should use VA Form 21-0958Notice of Disagreement.
  • Veterans and survivors will not be required to use a standardized notice of disagreement form to initiate appeals of pension or survivors benefit decisions at this time.

VA recognizes that some Veterans may need additional time to gather all of the information and evidence needed to support their claim and therefore established a new intent to file a claim process. Applicants may notify VA of their intent to file a claim in order to establish the earliest possible effective date for benefits if they are determined eligible. An intent to file a claim may be submitted in one of three ways: 

  1. Electronically via eBenefits or with the support of a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) through the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal.
  2. Completing and mailing a paper VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC
  3. Over the phone with a VA call center or in person with a public contact representative.

Veterans may appoint a duly authorized representative, such as a VSO, who can notify VA of a claimant’s intent to file using any of the methods listed above. VA will provide an individual up to one year from the date they submit their intent to file a claim to complete the required application form. Veterans may wish to use this one-year period to gather evidence necessary to support the claim so that evidence can be submitted along with the application form.

 VA’s move to standardized claim and appeal forms will make the process easier and more efficient for both VA and the Veterans, and allow VA to establish a quicker, more streamlined benefits delivery system.

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Healthcare Inspection – Emergency Department Falsification of Performance Measure Data, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX03/18/2015 08:00 PM EDT

March 24th, 2015

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03/18/2015 08:00 PM EDT


The OIG conducted a review of allegations at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, Texas. We administratively closed this review on March 10, 2014, because Medical Center leadership had fully investigated the allegations and taken appropriate actions prior to our review. In addition to posting this review on our website, OIG has distributed copies of this review to VA and Veterans Health Administration officials, congressional committees, national veterans service organizations, the Government Accountability Office, and the Office of Management and Budget.

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Healthcare Inspection – Alleged Non-Compliance with VHA Policy, Lexington VA Medical Center, Lexington, KY03/18/2015 08:00 PM EDT

March 24th, 2015

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03/18/2015 08:00 PM EDT


The OIG conducted a review of allegations at the Lexington VA Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky. We administratively closed this review on May 6, 2014, because the issue is the subject of a tort claim. In addition to posting this review on our website, OIG has distributed copies of this review to VA and Veterans Health Administration officials, congressional committees, national veterans service organizations, the Government Accountability Office, and the Office of Management and Budget.

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Healthcare Inspection – Colorectal Cancer Screening in 2010, VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System, Harlingen, TX03/18/2015 08:00 PM EDT

March 24th, 2015

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The OIG conducted a review of an allegation at the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System, Harlingen, Texas. We administratively closed this review on July 1, 2014, because we did not substantiate the allegation, and we made no recommendations. In addition to posting this review on our website, OIG has distributed copies of this review to VA and Veterans Health Administration officials, congressional committees, national veterans service organizations, the Government Accountability Office, and the Office of Management and Budget.

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