The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) just admitted it improperly treated 24,000 veterans for traumatic brain injuries and has offered to provide them with new exams.
This time around, those new exams will be administered by qualified staff, says a VA template letter soon to be sent out to vets across the country. This letter, along with a full list of improperly treated veterans at facilities across the country, was obtained by WVEC-TV.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has conducted a special review of traumatic brain injury (TBI) examinations completed between 2007 and 2015 in support of disability compensation claims for TBI,” the letter reads. “This review revealed a number of initial TBI examinations that were not conducted by a neurologist, psychiatrist, physiatrist, or neurosurgeon. You are receiving this letter because your initial TBI exam was not performed by one of these specialists, and we are offering you the option to undergo a new TBI exam by an appropriate specialist.”
What this means is that 24,000 veterans were not properly diagnosed because staff had no clue what they were doing, as they simply did not possess the qualifications necessary to make a determination.
TBI is listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a major cause of death in the United States. About 30 percent of injury-related deaths can be attributed to TBI, which comes about as a result of a blow to the head that “disrupts the normal function of the brain.” It’s also known as a frequent ailment in the post-Afghanistan and Iraq war era of troops returning home from the battlefield, where they’ve suffered trauma to the head.
The distribution of misdiagnosed TBI veterans is not uniform. Rather, the regional office in Winston-Salem misdiagnosed a total of 2,992 veterans, with Atlanta and Seattle following behind at 2,091 and 2,076, respectively. Regional offices in Wilmington and Manila, however, only had eight and five misdiagnosed veterans.
Concerned Veterans for America (CV4A), a national veterans’ policy organization, blasted the VA’s inability to assign proper specialists to veterans.
“That a single veteran should be improperly treated for these injuries is inexcusable. That more than 24,000 veterans were so negligently treated is unconscionable, and indicative of the VA’s broader failure to deliver timely, efficient care,” John Cooper, press secretary at CV4A, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“These veterans should have been able to rely on the VA to help heal these invisible wounds, but the VA let them down,” Cooper added. “This is simply more proof of the need for reform at the VA, reform which incentivizes accountability and empowers veterans to get the care they deserve, and the care they choose.”
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