VAROs–THE THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM?

Welcome to the New Year. It’s apparent we have a new metric afoot in the Veterans Service Centers across our fruited plains. Right. VAROs are now called VSCs and have been for a while. The boss of the “service” center is called the VSCM (manager). The Assistant manager is- you guessed it- the AVSCM. They run the Ratings show. There’s still a Director in the Senior Executive Service (SES) sector for each VSC except for North and South Dakota. He handles the PR. Used to be, and maybe still be, that if you called the Montana RO, they picked up in Salt Lick City. Ditto for Fargo, Cheyenne and Sioux Falls.  They probably don’t have telephone lines out that far yet and rely on green firewood and wet blankets. Or Pony Express.

We no longer have raters. Public relations experts have determined America does better with terms like “associate” or “team member”. Hence the days of the old Decision Review Officers (DROs) are dwindling. They’re segueing into Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Ratings Quality Control Veterans Service Representatives and more. I appreciate they’ve given us agents and attorneys Change Management Agents (CMAs). Too bad we can’t get them to change anything. As for managing, they do manage to get it in front of the right Denial Coach. Check this out.

Cupcake has a lot of real estate agents working for her. Real estate agents have dads who are my age. Some of them were in the military and have disabilities. I inherit them because it’s the right thing to do-even if I’m utterly overwhelmed. Meet Jim- Blue Water Navy- or BWN. Yep. His daughter is her Agent

 My BWN Vet

Jim (pseudonym) filed in 2002 for a bunch of things like IHD and DM II w/ PN.  He’d had a couple of heart attacks and the ticker was heading south. Wonder of wonders, he lost. And then along came Joe Procopio and the revised BWN do over of Hasse v. Peake.  I filed him for them under §3.816 and scored a home run- or thought  I had. This is called a Fenderson Staged rating. It’s named after Joe Fenderson. Who else? Now, ever since 1999, when we win an old CUE claim, an antique §3.156(c) or one of these AO claims which the Vet filed for and lost previously, the VA has to perform a retrospective rating covering the past to the present. Most always, you get a Zero for the Hero rating up to magic moment in 2020 when you suddenly qualify for 100%. You can predict it.

VA sure couldn’t say Jimbo was Boston Marathon material. He was blowing less than 50% on the ejection fraction (EF). This gets you a 60% rating under DC 7005 for Ischemic Heart Disease. If your EF falls below 30%, you advance to Boardwalk and start erecting hotels. But what happens if you get better? Or more aptly put, what happens if VA says you got better during a Fenderson Staged rating 14 years ago?

RedactRD 9-29-20

Reducing a Veteran’s rating is a strange, difficult procedure. Look up §3.105(e) to begin with. Hellooooooo? I’d like a hearing, please? Due process must be observed. Reducing it in an eighteen year old retrospective Fenderson-style staged rating is a whole different animal. How can you inform the Vet you intend to reduce him from 60% to 40% beginning in June in 2006  in 2020? Rent a DeLorean with a ginormous Flux capacitor in the trunk? How can you reduce him for a cardiomyopathy issue with only one c&p? Ruh-oh, Rorge. Raters are oblivious to §3.344. It doesn’t exist to them. The short answer is you can’t reduce him. The long answer is Hell no, you can’t reduce him on one c&p. Well everywhere but at a VSC.

The Jimster’s a retiree so we’re talking about Concurrent Receipt of military and VA pay if he was over 50%. Much like the art of gerrymandering in congressional districts, VA prevented (as much as possible) any big retro based on Dual receipt. They gave him 10% out of the gate for the IHD- then 60% for a year or two combined with his DM II ratings.  But then they whacked him down to 40% in ’06 to keep him out of the concurrent receipt column until 2019 when he had his septal infarction and sank below 20% EF. Then two things happened. I began reading volumes and volumes of his records and decided to go back to 2002 and the old denial to see if I’d missed anything. I had. Seems he’d filed for MDD secondary to his IHD and they’d denied it strictly based on his IHD denial. The VA shrink had generously stated he was more f****d up than Hogan’s goat and mildly to moderately depressed at his c&p-and it was all due to that nasty IHD. I’m sure Dr. Demento never thought Mr. Jim was ever going to catch air on the IHD so it was a safe diagnosis. Cool. Free Thorazine, right?

So I “re”filed him for MDD, 2ndy to the IHD as a CUE saying what the brain box expert said in 2002. I even reprinted his diagnosis and submitted it with the filing.  VA was so sure they’d pole-axed my boy on concurrent receipt with the Fenderson screwing, they never did their homework. Jiminy Cricket will get that 30% for Bent Brain Syndrome. Maybe not at the VSC but §3.310 is far more respected at the BVA than the M 21. But that was not the end of the matter. No sir. Not by a long shot.

Redacted CUE 12-2-2020

Due to this infernal Beer Virus, it took from our March filing until Christmas to get my hands on one of his doctor’s files. They were locked up in a storage area as the good doctor had retired back in ’18. Fortunately, he kept the records. They showed Jim had an EF of 25% beginning in June 2016. I promptly filed them on 12/29/2020 as a supplemental and saw him getting 100% for three more years using the Fenderson red carpet. Not.

Eight (8, badt, ocho, tám, huit) days later (over the New Year’s weekend, no less) on January 6th, 2021 VBMS (Honolulu) regurgitated the fact that the retired doctor had been too vague. The rater, in desperation, had stated they received nothing that would change their Fenderson rating. I called up Allison, my CMA here in Seattle and asked her to please find the chowderhead who authored this abortion and explain to me in DickandJanespeak why a 25% EF (or less) under DC 7005 would NOT warrant a 100% rating.

Redact RD 1-6-2021

Wait for it..

Seems the VA rater is perturbed that Jimster’s cardiologist had failed to specify which ejection fraction was 25%-right or left ventricle. VA was just not going to hand out some serious folding money for something this vague. Hoo doggies. If you want to measure the right ventricular EF, it takes an MRI with contrast as opposed to the way everyone else in the world (including VA cardiodocs) measure it (on the left with ultrasound). Since the EF on the right side is kinda immaterial to this ischemic heart gig, it’s presumed by anyone in the medical world that an EF would mean it was done on the left side. The right ventricle simply pushes blood into the lungs.  VA is saying the doc’s failure to say “Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction” was going to cost my Vet  $105,000.oo in retro on top of everything else so far. Or so VA thought. Thank you for your Service. Next?

Of course, they could have Googled ejection fraction:

Ejection fraction (EF) is a measurement, expressed as a percentage, of how much blood the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction. An ejection fraction of 60 percent means that 60 percent of the total amount of blood in the left ventricle is pushed out with each heartbeat.

I called up Jim’s wife and asked her if they could get a letter from Dr. Retired who was also a personal friend. I wanted him to clarify that the EF was done on the left side. Mrs. Jim proceeded to lay the following on me. Shoodoodle, Alex. Those records I sent you at Christmas were from his personal care physician. You want I should contact Franciscan Health Care and ask for his cardiac doctor’s medical records from 2010 to now? You know, he’s still seeing the same doctor. His EF (on the left side) had been plumb nasty until 2019 when he had the septal infarction due to the infection after the defibrilator implant. It went to hell in a handbasket after that. They hit him so many times with the paddles he’s got burn marks. He’s blowing less than 20% right now and he’s on Entresto™.

Now, with all that said, Fenderson gives us some explicit rights. I summed it all up in my legal brief. Read all the records, not just the ones you cherry picked. But… when you do a Fenderson on someone like Jim, you already know the future. You can see he’s not going to get better. In fact, the village idiot could opine that the shit was going to hit the fan big time in the future. Duh? So, to reduce him in 2006 using §3.344  knowing full well he couldn’t go to the supermarket without packing an AED in a decade is error. To ignore §3.105 is fatal CUE.

It’s always lots of fun to be in the Catbird seat. Jim will one day see his whole CRDP come back to him. I also caught them trying to say he only got spousal dependency for his wife from the 2019 100% rating. Oddly, right in the old 2002 VA Form 21-526, he had submitted his wife’s birth certificate, SSN and their marriage certificate in hopes that St. Nick would soon be there when he won. 2002 was the effective date of dependency now. I had a hard time pounding that nail home until I sent them a copy of the 526… from VBMS.

Seems like the third time’s the charm.

The 3rd Time at the BVA

Hopefully that will occur on my Roberto claim below. This is the third BVA assault. It’s hard to admit CUE in a 1972 decision for financial reasons. VA has so many of these they have a hard time figuring out how much to ask for in Appropriations before Congress every year. VA folks I talk to always say “We never look at the potential payout. We’re objective. Our motto has and always will be Grant if you can. Deny if you must.” What in the hell do I look like? A turnip wagon driver? Do you see the Mayflower tied up to my front porch?  If that’s so, why have all my hardest claims to win been ones involving an absolute shit ton of money for the client? Admitting CUE is admitting you screwed up bigtime. At VA, you’d think it was tantamount to admitting to your wife that you cheated on her with her best friend…on your honeymoon.

Redacted CUE filed 1-15-2021

P.S. I had some late arrivals to add to this.

This one below isn’t too far off the mark considering what’s afoot these days on social media. Just think. They know every thing you’ve said and felt for all these years. Cupcake and I decided it’s just too weird these days to say anything in public for fear of offending someone. Thus, we no longer comment or Like so do not think we’re ignoring you.

That’s why I relegate all that nonsense to this blog.  Who cares what asknod thinks?

Posted in AO, Blue Water Navy, BvA Decisions, Corona pandemic, CUE, DM II, Earlier Effective dates, HCV Epidemiology, Humor, Informal Claims, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA suspense dates, VBMS Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

White House official list of highlights concerning veterans (to January 2021)

With the Biden inauguration almost upon us, I thought it would be interesting to see some of the Trump Administration’s final online notes before they are purged. I have copied those relating to veterans and added some various links to some in the list.

The Mission Act has received a fair amount of press. The EO to help veterans move to the Merchant Marines “seamlessly” was new to me and seems like a good idea. Telehealth work was started up to connect rural vets and became valuable during COVID. The Haven Act protects disability payments in a bankruptcy, a good reform.

The number of vets who are homeless remains shockingly high although Dr. Ben Carson has been a proactive HUD secretary. In cities like San Francisco, LA, San Diego, I would lay the blame on the mayors and Congress responsible for the worst districts. Big Philantrophy still prefers to fund status projects they can put their family names on.

To see the entire list click below:

Trump Administration Summary of Accomplishments for Veterans

Serving and Protecting Our Veterans

Signed and implemented the VA Mission Act, which made permanent Veterans CHOICE, revolutionized the VA community care system, and delivered quality care closer to home for Veterans.

The number of Veterans who say they trust VA services has increased 19 percent to a record 91 percent, an all-time high.

Offered same-day emergency mental health care at every VA medical facility, and secured $9.5 billion for mental health services in 2020. https://www.va.gov/samedayservices/

Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017, which ensured that veterans could continue to see the doctor of their choice and wouldn’t have to wait for care.

During the Trump Administration, millions of veterans have been able to choose a private doctor in their communities.

Expanded Veterans’ ability to access telehealth services, including through the “Anywhere to Anywhere” VA healthcare initiative leading to a 1000 percent increase in usage during COVID-19.

Signed the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act and removed thousands of VA workers who failed to give our Vets the care they have so richly deserve.

Signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 and improved the efficiency of the VA, setting record numbers of appeals decisions.

Modernized medical records to begin a seamless transition from the Department of Defense to the VA.

Launched a new tool that provides Veterans with online access to average wait times and quality-of-care data.

The promised White House VA Hotline has fielded hundreds of thousands of calls.

Formed the PREVENTS Task Force to fight the tragedy of Veteran suicide.

Decreased veteran homelessness, and education benefits, and achieved record-low veteran unemployment.

Reformed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve care, choice, and employee accountability.

Signed and implemented the Forever GI Bill, allowing Veterans to use their benefits to get an education at any point in their lives.

Eliminated every penny of Federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled.

Helped hundreds of thousands of military service members make the transition from the military to the civilian workforce, and developed programs to support the employment of military spouses.

Placed nearly 40,000 homeless veterans into employment through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.
Placed over 600,000 veterans into employment through American Job Center services.

Compared to 2009, 49 percent fewer veterans experienced homelessness nationwide during 2019.

https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/pit_count.asp#:~:text=

This%20national%20snapshot%20of%20Veteran,to%2037%2C878%20in%20January%202018.


Signed and implemented the HAVEN Act to ensure that Veterans who’ve declared bankruptcy don’t lose their disability payments.

Enrolled over 500,000 transitioning service members in over 20,000 Department of Labor employment workshops.

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/vets/programs/tap

https://www.dcms.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Human-Resources-CG-1/Health-Safety-and-Work-Life-CG-11/Office-of-Work-Life-CG-111/Transition-Assistance-Program/TAP-DOL-Workshop/

Signed an executive order to help Veterans transition seamlessly into the United States Merchant Marine.

I, for one, hope that the US will continue to bring troops home.

Post-peace initiatives, Israel is now under CENTCOM.

The improved relationships in the Middle East are something I hope Biden can get behind. I’m having a hard time imagining Biden/Harris boosting morale at this moment, but if they become honest and transparent leaders, it may be possible.

Laura (Guest author)

Posted in All about Veterans, Appeals Modernization Act, Community Care Network, Food for the soul, Food for thought, Future Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, HOMELESS VETERANS, non-va care, Uncategorized, Urgent Care Benefit, vA news, Veterans Choice card | 16 Comments

“Be it enacted” January 3, 2021 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021

H. R. 6395 (Link)

SEC. 9109. ADDITIONAL DISEASES ASSOCIATED WITH EXPOSURE TO CERTAIN HERBICIDE AGENTS FOR WHICH THERE IS A PRESUMPTION OF SERVICE CONNECTION FOR VETERANS WHO SERVED IN THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM.

Section 1116(a)(2) of title 38, United States Code, is amended
by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:

‘(I) Parkinsonism.
‘‘(J) Bladder cancer.
‘‘(K) Hypothyroidism.’

I have not seen any rule-making about this amendment or updates on the VA website or Federal Register yet.

Doesn’t VA believe in SCIENCE!!! 🤦

https://www.research.va.gov/currents/1216-3.cfm
VA study yields strong evidence of ties between herbicides and high blood pressure in Vietnam-era Vets
December 13, 2016

Hypertension was removed from this amendment, not because of science, but 💰. As Bill Nye said, “…if you don’t believe in science, then you’re holding everybody back.” Which for VA, is the whole point. Trickle down science and benefits.

There are lots of BVA cases to be found in 2019-2020 with the search terms, bladder cancer & Agent Orange).” In this one, the vet got an IMO. (https://www.va.gov/vetapp19/files10/19179078.txt) but if I recall correctly from the Purple book, the judges knew this was in the works, so why fiddle around? The good news is that many previously denied cases can be reopened now. 🎉 Special thanks to Sen. Tester (Montana) for working hard to save some veterans’ lives.

Laura (Guest author)

Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, BVA Purplebook, Congressional Influence, Food for the soul, Food for thought, General Messages, Guest authors, Medical News, research, Uncategorized, vA news, VA suspense dates, Vietnam Disease Issues | 2 Comments

2021-BOLDLY GOING NOWHERE

Remember them old party games with adult beverages back in the 70s and 80s like the Telephone Game? It might have been called something else depending on where you lived geographically. It consisted of Partygoer #1, so designated and labeled, whispering a statement to Partygoer #2-again, predenominated with affixed name tag. This allowed you to roam around and seek out the next numerical successor without all the guests having to stay put. Partygoer #2 would thus seek out and transmit this communication to Partygoer #3 and so on until it had traversed the entire Partygoer contingent-be it 20 souls- or 40. Partygoer Ω  then announces the communication loudly and it is compared to the original, primary statement of Partygoer #1. All the intermediate contributors are amazed at how the message metamorphoses (incorrectly) until becoming unintelligible gibberish.  

So, too, the VA claims process. You file. VA gets to decide what it is you filed for. By the time it gets to the BVA, the VLJ is using terms like “It’s unclear but appears from the Form 9 that the Appellant seeks service connection for painful scars secondary to RFID chip implanted during an alien abduction while on active duty for training.”

I don’t know how many claims and appeals I get that require being sorted and clarified in order to get them back on track. Ten years later at the BVA for the third time, the Vet’s claim tends to metastasize into a long phrase requiring five typewritten lines. Imagine  DC 8004-8613. You have virtual loss of use of your right (dominant) upper extremity. You no longer eat soup with a spoon. You drink it from the bowl wearing a bib and still end up wearing 20%. VA has turned that into Right Upper Extremity with tremor and muscle rigidity and stiffness as a result of complication of Parkinson’s disease with peripheral neuropathy (dominant) 70%. The VA idea is to lump all these diseases and injuries into one homogenized disability. I’ll explain why later. Here’s another stellar example which will soon be a bone of contention at the BVA. Major neurocognitive impairment (MCI)-Previously claimed as Mild Neurocognitive Impairment, Major Depressive Disorder, Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety and Unspecified Neurocognitive Disorder (also claimed as Memory Loss and Sleep Disturbance) associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Asthma and Sleep Apnea (previously rated as Asthma DC 6602). Did you get that? Asthma just turned into a neurocognitive disease associated with COPD.

When it comes time for SMC S or L, the rater is going to throw all your disabilities into one basket and ascribe your rating being due to all of them. Be aware of that going into SMC.

The VA Telephone Game begins early on when you file your 526. It gets more interesting when you become more refined and file the third or fourth 995 to “get it right this time”. This AMA merry-go-round cranks out a decision now in as short a ten days from what I’ve seen. VA’s favorite ploy is to turn Vets’ claims into Hamburger Helper™. I shouldn’t just shoot my mouth off like that. Maybe it’s true of all govt. stuff. If so, it’s probably why aliens don’t want to talk to us. I’m gonna go way out on the little branches here and wager a VA rater with this “construal” mindset wouldn’t be able to hold down the booth bitch job at the drive-thru window of your local choke-n-puke. You order a Big Mac©. You pull around to the pickup window and get a Happy Meal® and three shakes.

Most of these start with a misunderstanding by the Vet when he files. I guess it could equally be the “Intake Specialist” at a VSO. But who would expect a Vet to be a medical whizbang? To him it’s “parachute knees” from jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. To the VA examiner it’s chondromalacia with DeLuca pain. The Vet always loses at this game.  Let’s say you want to file for Hepatitis C from a jet gun, ringing ears due to shooting your Pig in ‘Nam for a year and IHD due to AO. VA sends you a generic notice they have received your claim- nothing more.  Just a brief “Rog on the incoming, over.” Six weeks or months from now, you’ll be reading that your tinnitus has been denied due to no evidence in your service treatment records of complaints of tinnitus. No mention of the 11Bravo10 MOS. Your claim of IHD secondary to the tinnitus is also denied. They miss the Hep C claim completely and have to deny that a month later-but only if you bitch. The denial is appalling. “We cast dem bones in the Sacred Circle and construed your filing to mean that you were claiming your IHD secondarily to your tinnitus claim. We denied the Tinnitus. Since there is no evidence you served in the Republic of Vietnam or  manifested IHD in service or within the year following discharge, we regrettably have to deny you.” VSRs and and their ilk don’t know how to decypher ARCOM or CIB. Granted, eventually you win-but only if you get it sorted. Many never do. They just give up and go home. I meet them all the time nowadays. Same old VA shit. Different Claim.

You don’t even see the second part of this VA Telephone game coming.  When you have won and the shekels have been deposited, you pretty much continue to decline in health. You file for the increases and the SMCs and all of a sudden, your find your diabetes is actually part of your IHD which is associated with your prostate cancer. Sorry, dude. You don’t get the §3.350(f)(4) bump because your 100% for IHD isn’t independently ratable (in VA’s eyes). I’ve see VA continue to add up disabilities by “combining them” with §4.25 VA math. You never get to 100% this way- or if you do- it took every rating you had to get there. Sorry dude, No SMC S. They ignore Rice v. Shinseki and don’t consider TDIU the moment you hit 60% for one rating or a combo of 40% with others adding up to 70%. They only do the right thing when supervised and cornered like a rat. Sadly, that doesn’t happen until you get to the BVA-if then. That’s why Congress created the CAVC for us. Thirty one years later, it is slowly beginning to turn the tide in our favor. I’ve heard it takes 1.5 miles to stop the Exxon Valdez and turn it around. VA must work for Exxon or vice versa.

VBA benefits specialists (VSRs, RVSRs, SVSRs and DROs) are of the opinion that All Veterans get better. They call it the Lazarus Effect. Paraplegics rise regularly at those tent revival meetings where the Pastor exhorts them to cast their crutches and wheelchairs aside and trust in the Lord.  This is why you get those surprise letters out of the blue from VBA saying please report for an examination to see if you’re getting worse. Miraculously, the c&p invariably shows you didn’t get worse but rather can now run walk perambulate the Boston Marathon assisted with nothing-not even a walker. It conservatively takes two years or more to turn one of these cattle stampedes around and head it back to the barn. Sadly, I’ve found the only instant cure is to race out and grab an IMO stating the opposite (the truth). I just turned a Proposal for a 50% Reduction down to 10% into a 70% rating by whipping out an IMO from my private contract shrink RFN. VA granted the 70% and went on in the Rating Decision to tell me they’d be contacting us to schedule the reduction hearing shortly.  That’s pure unadulterated bullshit. I can see it in the VBMS file. They closed out the EP (end product code) and there are no claims pending.

As I discussed above,  Vets discover the ultimate bitchslap when they file for SMCs. They get trapped. Let’s say you file for Aid and Attendance at the SMC L rate. VA goes into the rating code sheet and looks at everything you are currently rated for. I mean everything. If they grant, they write it up that way too. It’ll look like this.

“SMC L granted for being so helpless as  to need the Aid and Attendance of another” but they summarize all your disabilities-all of them- as the need for granting the A&A. Thus, if your disabilities increase, your SMC rating is artificially compromised by the “independently ratable” language in §3.350(f)(3) or (f)(4). You can’t show progression of your disease or loss of use because, well, you’re already getting paid for it under the A&A, dude. No pyramiding allowed.  If you think about it,  it’s one hell of an argument not to file for all that’s wrong with you unless or until it will result in a net gain in your SMC rating. The last thing you want is to have VA say the IHD is secondary to your DM II. It’ll take an IMO to get them separated into two separate and distinct illnesses to get your (f)(3)(4) bump or to SMC O as a separate A&A award. VA is actually trying to do exactly this to one of my Vets. The herbicide presumption is for application but they are trying to attribute the hypertension caused by the DM II as the reason for the IHD. WTF, over? What are they smoking? Sativa or Indica?

I encountered this a few days ago (no- not the throat spray). One of my LZ Cork survivors, Bob, just won 100% for IHD. I already got him SMC L for loss of use (LOU) of the lower extremities due to really, really bad diabetic neuropathy or PAD (Peripheral Atherosclerotic Disease). VA forgot to give him the (f)(3) bump up to L 1/2 back in 2018 which we’ll be fixing directly. It’s more fun to let them clothesline themselves first. The teaching moment here is simple. Let’s say he had filed for A&A first for the PAD of the lower extremities and all his other stuff like DM II, SFW scars, perforated eardrums with vertigo etc., and VA granted it. He could never file for LOU of his legs as a stand alone condition AFTER  he got the A&A. Here, he has “used” his DM II card as the primary cause of the LOU of the legs. If he needs aid and attendance of another later due to his IHD alone, he can do that legally because the need for A&A can be alleged as due to the IHD which was never the subject of the reason for A&A. A&A for the IHD advances him to SMC O (2 SMC Ls) and he progresses to SMC R1. There’s way more things most Vets need to know on SMC course knowledge. Think of it like a Chutes and Ladders game.

Here’s an intriguing example of either CUE or the proper application of §3.350(f)(3) and (f) (4) awarded together.

https://www.va.gov/vetapp19/files6/19146045.txt

“Here, the Veteran was receiving statutory payable SMC (L) based on
the need for aid and attendance. His aid and attendance finding was
noted by the RO to be based on the combination of his Parkinson’s
disease, cervical spondylosis, diabetes mellitus, radiculopathy,
left upper extremity limitation of motion, and cervicogenic
headaches. As the Veteran’s PTSD was rated as 100 percent
disabling, and not considered in finding he required aid and
attendance, this raised his rate to the next higher statutory
rate, or raised him from SMC (L) to the next higher SMC (M).

However, the Board finds that the Veteran’s cervicogenic
headaches, independently ratable at 50 percent disabling
was not a necessary factor in consideration for the finding
for his need for aid and attendance. Which provides the
Veteran with SMC (L) for aid and attendance, plus the next
higher intermediate rate for headaches independently rated
at 50 percent, and lastly, plus an additional next higher
statutory rate based on PTSD independently rated as 100
percent. As such, the Veteran is entitled to the intermediate rate
between 38 U.S.C.A. §1114 (M) and (N).”

Get that? Johnny Vet just got both (f)(3) and (f)(4) and the Regional Puzzle Palaces insist via the M 21 this is verboten. Of course, you might want to note that the reason they don’t “print’ the M 21 is that it changes all the time. I counted 137 revisions last year (2020). That sumbich would be obsolete before they got to setting up the print for Part III.

Here’s a BVA decision awarding two 1/2-step bumps under §3.350(f)(4) which the M 21 says is impermissible, too.

https://www.va.gov/vetapp19/files6/19146045.txt

In the SMC business, don’t ever believe what VA tells you. How about two SMC Ls for Aid and Attendance? That is more frequent than you think.

https://www.va.gov/vetapp18/files8/18126101.txt

The takeaway from all this requires a new game plan on what you get awarded and when. Buie v. Shinseki insists it makes no difference in which order the entitlements or SMC are awarded. By operation of law §3.103(a) will be the final arbiter- the highest and best that the law will permit-not how VA chooses to assemble them.

“… to render a decision which grants every benefit that can be supported in law while protecting the interests of the Government.”

Different Judges will grant different SMC entitlements under the exact same circumstances. This hard ass VLJ says no double dipping on (f)(3)(4)

“With respect to the Veteran’s assertion that he is entitled to a higher level of SMC under 38 C.F.R. § 3.350(f)(3), as noted above, he currently is in receipt of SMC under 38 U.S.C.A. §1114(P) and 38 C.F.R.§ 3.350(f)(4) at the rate equal to subsection (M) based on the loss of use of both legs with additional disability independently ratable as 100 percent disabling from August 20, 2009.  The Board notes in this regard that concurrent receipt of SMC under 38 C.F.R. § 3.350(f)(3) and (f)(4) is prohibited.  In other words, because the Veteran currently is in receipt of SMC under 38 C.F.R. § 3.350(f)(4) based on the loss of use both legs with additional disability independently ratable as 100 percent disabling, he is not eligible to receive SMC under 38 C.F.R. § 3.350(f)(3) at the same time (as the AOJ noted in the October 2012 Statement of the Case).  Thus, this claim must be denied as a matter of law.  See also Sabonis v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 426 (1994).”

The reason I think this is squirrelly is there is nothing in §3.350(f) that specifically forbids both awards. It’s merely an M 21 rule they made up one day. Considering BVA VLJs are adamant in that they are not bound to subscribe to the M 21, I think it’s disturbing this only happens when it’s gonna cost them some serious baksheesh.

A definitive answer on a lot of SMC paradoxes can only come from the CAVC with a panel. I’d like to see this but I know if I won it (concurrent receipt of (f)(3) and (f)(4)) or another fellow litigator did, they’d just go back and rewrite (f)(3) and (f)(4) and preclude it in the future. In this respect, VA regulations often remind me of the Whack-a-Mole game. As soon as VA plugs one loophole, we find another to exploit. It never helps the VASEC when the CAFC/CAVC are constantly sawing off the rotten legal limbs he chooses to stand on.

Remember what ET said. B. Good. I hope you all stay healthy and mentally sane during this perilous time. Our country is on thin ice and we need to remember Vets. We’ve always been the sacrificial lamb on the altar of finance when the Govt. wants to rein in the spending. With the passage of the newest NDAA signed last week, I fervently hope the new Agent Orange diseases will be promptly recognized without an interminable  one-year phase-in like our Blue Water Navy Vets got. The most egregious- the award of special caregiver status only to post-911 Vets- has now been revised to extend  to all Vets regardless of their color or creed-or when they served. That was sooooo wrong.  My advice is if you have the Parkinson’s-like disease as I do, you need to file pronto as that will be your effective date for benefits. As for the Thailand AO Vets, all I can suggest is to keep singing Linda Ronstadt’s When Will I Be Loved? and pray you’ll be heard by Congress too.

Posted in Aid and Attendance, All about Veterans, Appeals Modernization Act, Complaints Department, Corona pandemic, Corona virus, DM II, Humor, Nexus Information, R1/R2, VA Agents, vA news, VBMS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

“Guests enjoy a lit up walkway at the Southeast Botanical Gardens, Chibana, Okinawa, Japan, during a Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) holiday trip, Dec. 20, 2020. MCCS hosted the holiday trip to celebrate the upcoming holiday season and offer Marines, Sailors and their families an opportunity to get off base and enjoy the seasonal lights displayed at the Southeast Botanical Gardens. ” DoD.

Click image to enlarge for a fine image by U.S. Marine Corp Sgt. Micha Pierce.

Lots of light against dark skies recently. We’ve had 8 days of Hannukah. And then the ‘Great Conjunction’ of Saturn and Jupiter–last seen in 1623–dazzled. (Link to NASA) Pictures from the White House displays are charmingly hung with kids’ ornaments.

In our small town in Vermont, officials decked out big trucks with lights and drove through the dark neighborhoods to bring some cheer to the kids and everyone else. Made lots of noise too.

American history buffs might enjoy reading about the man who wrote “We Three Kings” with its famous “O star of wonder, star of night” refrain. He was born in Pennsylvania, attended UVM, became a minister, gave the eulogy for U. Grant, and ended up being buried in Vermont.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_Hopkins_Jr.

In any case, wishing all a bright weekend, with special thoughts for the ill, our active military wherever they are deployed, and anyone who is unable to attend religious services.

Laura (Guest author)

Posted in Food for the soul, Food for thought, Future Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

EXPOSED VET RADIO SHOW–CHRISTMAS EVE SPECIAL

I’m deeply honored to present a Christmas Eve show with John and Jerrell over at Exposed Vets. It’s such a special time of the year and even more so in the current situation we are- I guess- enduring, for lack of a better descriptive noun. It’s been an interesting year for Vietnam’s Blue Water Veterans. Sadly, it’s another year of Orphan Annie status for my fellow Air Force and Army Vets who were corralled in on bases in Thailand surrounded by AO. Of all the Indochinese peninsula Vets, service there almost guaranteed you were presumptively exposed. After sixty years, I guess there’s still some mystery about how this Roundup™ shit gets on you…or in you.   

Beth Spangenberg

On Thursday evening’s show, I’d like to introduce you to a woman who really has Veterans’ backs. Bethanie Spangenberger P.A.-C is a fellow NOVA member and a VA Agent like myself. She started Valor4Vet.com and provides a valuable service in helping Vets obtain Independent Medical Opinions. Visit the website and give her a call if you have questions. She has a special new twist on doing claims.  NOVA, the National Organization of Veterans Advocates, is an organization made up almost exclusively of attorneys and agents who truly help get Vets service connected. No BS promises or dog and pony show games. It’s $500 a year to join and the conferences are not cheap but where else can you learn how to whip these VA turkeys at their own game?

I’ve been throwing rocks at VA’s window for 31 years now- if you don’t count my first foray back in 1975 that went nowhere. 1989 was my debut and I lost all my claims using DAV. I  tried again in 1994 with AmVets with no better luck. MOPH was the last hurrah in 2007 before I discovered the secret knock and the password. Once inside the wire, it was smooth sailing all the way to SMC S. VA might have changed the rules about 100 times since then but what the hey? That’s what NOVA’s for. They teach us how to build a better mousetrap.

On Thursday’s show, I’d like to share with you some of the latest tricks VA has come up with and the repair order to fix them. In a nutshell, the new AMA process is an end run attempt to void the benefit of the doubt enshrined in 38 CFR §3.102 and 38 USC §5107b. It’s subtle, I’ll grant you that, but it’s as obvious as Rudolph’s nose if you know what you’re looking for. I’m encountering it now almost on a weekly basis.

Pop the top of an adult beverage and join us for an informative last show of 2020.  There are two methods to tune in. Here’s the computer link if you want to join us.

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/jbasser/11867643/connect/898a85ee233520a00952c22a3b5197adf61d3d5e

And for all of you with the basics, the telephone number is still

(515) 605-9764

 

Dial one (1) to enter the conversation. Otherwise squelch it- do not dial one and create feedback by sharing your dogs’ barking.

 

In memory of my fallen Veteran clients this year, I list them here.

Sam Bailey 2/04/2020– U.S. Army; PH, ARCOM w/ V, CIB, Eleven Bravo

Ray Parker 4/09/2020-USAF; AM, VSM, VCM, CG w/ palm, Forward Air Controller

Chase  Haddock 4/10/2020- USMC, US Army; KDSM, UNKSM, Radioman

John Oldham 5/26/2020- USMC, VSM, VCM, CG w/ palm, Infantryman

Posted in Exposed Veteran Radio Show, NOVA Attorneys, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VBMS, VBMS Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

VBA CLAIMS WARNING–VA FORM 21-4142 & 4142A

First, accolades to Beth Spangenberger, PA-C of Valor4Vet for her 12/10 excellent clinical/informational presentation on how VA c&p exams work and VA Examiner bias. We need all the ‘inside’ information we can get to obtain justice for Veterans. Beth was the VA’s medical examiner  at the Dayton, Ohio VARO from 2012-2015. She reviewed the incoming clinician c&p exams for completeness and made her thoughts known as to whether the claim should be approved or denied. Much like a Detroit auto assembly line, you never get to see a completed car if you worked on the engine install line. So too, Beth. She did this for three years before she had to escape the madness. Fortuitously, she ran into a former claimant who still had not prevailed three years after she “approved” him and was later able to help him attain the proper rating. Following that, Beth parted company with VA, crossed over and became an accredited Agent for Veterans.

Without detracting from anything in her presentation, I wish to add to her list of things to look out for when dealing with VA prestidigitationists. The VCAA came out in 2001 forcing VA to be more up front with what we need to win. I’ve read a lot of c files and one thing jumps out at me. Veterans filed claims and dutifully filled out the VA Form 21-4142 and companion 21-4142a. This gave HIPPA permission to the VA to obtain your private medical records from your doctor. If you use VA medical and go to Death Valley VAMCs across our frozen plains for treatment, you only need to indicate this on your VA Form 21-526EZ. If you indicate there are private records, this triggers the VA mailing you the 4142s.

You fill out and return the documents to VA or to your VSO for submittal to VA. You believe VA will get your records. Shit, I did. Since the beginning of time, any request for medical records from a private provider requires a fee be charged to pull the records and copy them. In addition, this requires postage to mail them to VA. VA knows this. Since the VA refuses to pay for your records, they know this is a Mobius Loop; a zero-sum game.  Reasonable minds would agree that in a nonadversarial ex parte system of justice, VA should call you and say Group Health shined them on and you need to fix it pronto if you want to win.

Here’s a decision I just excavated out of a client’s VBMS  c file (now referred to as the efolder) last week while preparing to refile for him. Please note in the decision that the Vet is only informed at denial that VA never got the records back from the private doctor and that’s what caused the denial.

redact 2006 decision 4142

I will grant that with the VCAA threat now real, the Examiner did admonish Johnny Vet to go get the records from Group Health. But how many of you knew to do this or even understood the process of getting records and submitting them to VA? Wasn’t that the whole point of the VSOs and VA form 21-4142s? Sort of like one-stop shopping at WalMarket™, right? Booze? Check. Food? Check. New tennyrunners, ammo and deer tag? Check. Proceed to checkout, soldier. Nevertheless, it would seem the duty to assist should include a warning kind of like a trip flare before a denial rather than a belated one afterwards. Worse, even if the VA had received the medical records gratis, those records alone would not supply a medical nexus for his claim. Current records would only have informed the VA examiner of the current condition of the Veteran’s disabilities. 

 

VA’s failure to obtain the records causes additional downstream problems for Veterans. If you don’t supply any current evidence of a medical disability or injury, VA will never offer  you a c&p exam to find out if it might be service connected. Remember the Caluza/Hickson/Shedden triangle. Injury in service. Injury now. Medical nexus between the two. All the evidence in your service treatment records (STRs) is useless if you cannot prove you have a current disability. Never depend on VA to “build” your claim for you. Just like a three-card Monte game, you can’t win at this using VA’s rulebook.

Most Veterans arrive at the VA claims desk with two of the three Caluza elements- the injury/disease or risk factor in service and the current injury now. We expect VA to provide an independent medical opinion to solve the lack of the third requirement. Most Veterans don’t have $2-10K lying around to throw at this project. VA knows this. As Stalin was fond of saying- “It’s not how many votes you get but who counts the votes.”

Think of this as a recipe for baking cookies. You need a few things besides your good looks to make it happen. You need a doctor who writes nexus letters-not your own doctor who only has 15 minutes to see you, order and look at x rays, review your service records and write up an Independent Medical Opinion that it happened during service with accompanying cites to peer reviewed articles from JAMA. VA pays QTC, LHI and VES about $900 a pop for c&ps. That’s $900 for each DBQ they crank out and a medical opinion saying it did or didn’t happen in service. They don’t send out for c&ps with only one Caluza element.

Always remember there is nothing simple about this VA claims business. You keep your wallet in your front pocket and sit in a corner with your back to the wall. These fellers are slipperier than a pig dipped in Yellow 77.   They’ve been doing this since the War of 1812 so don’t think you’re going to pull the wool over their eyes. Worse, since the introduction of the AMA in 2019, VA is screwing things up at a record pace and making more work in the process. As if that wasn’t a bummer, the Coronabug has made it even worse by forcing VA idiots to telecommute and harder to consult their supervisor on procedure. This creates a lot of VA Star Wreck® stories-Boldly going Nowhere.

The teaching moment is never trust VA to accomplish anything they offer to do for you. Obtain your own evidence and submit it-even if you’re using a VSO. I don’t know how many claims I’ve read that died for lack of a timely appeal because the VSO didn’t file a NOD or VA 9 in time to save it. You can’t sue free help. Many have tried it, too. In the end, if you lose, it’s because you depended on another or false knowledge. If you are unsure of how to win, don’t give up until you find a good VA practitioner.

Merry Christmas to all. Thank you Gary Larson for coming back to work. Gary’s my neighbor. He lives over on Fox Island.

 

Posted in C&P exams, C-Files and RBAs, Corona virus, Humor, Independent Medical Opinions, Medical News, Nexus Information, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VBMS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

VA Covid-19 vaccine distribution list

From 12/10/20 VA Press Release

Who–Health care workers and long-term care patients will be the first to get vaccinated. 🛌 🚑

Where–37 medical centers were “...chosen for their ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures.” 🌬️

However, Community Care MAY be available later, “…When more vaccines are available, we’ll determine if we can provide vaccines through our community provider network.” (Link) 🤷

When–soon? very soon? 😊

Birmingham (AL) VA Health Care System

Phoenix (AZ) VA Health Care System

Greater Los Angeles (CA) VA Health Care System

Palo Alto (CA) VA Health Care System

Eastern Colorado (CO) VA Health Care System

Connecticut (West Haven Campus) VA Health Care System

Washington DC VA Health Care System

Orlando (FL) VA Health Care System

Augusta (GA) VA Health Care System

Edward J. Hines Jr. VA Hospital (IL)

Lexington (KY) VA Health Care System

Southeast Louisiana (New Orleans) VA Health Care System

Maryland (Baltimore) VA Health Care System

Bedford (MA) VA Health Care System

Ann Arbor (MI) VA Health Care System

Minneapolis (MN) VA Health Care System

Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital (Columbia MO)

St. Louis (MO) VA Health Care System

Omaha (NE) VA Health Care System

Southern Nevada (North Las Vegas) VA Health Care System

Raymond G. Murphy (NM) VA Health Care System

New York Harbor (Brooklyn) VA Health Care System

Western New York (Buffalo) VA Health Care System

Durham (NC) VA Health Care System

Cleveland (OH) VA Health Care System

Oklahoma City (OK) VA Health Care System

Portland (OR) VA Health Care System

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (Philadelphia PA)

Pittsburgh (PA) VA Health Care System

Caribbean (Puerto Rico) VA Health Care System

Memphis (TN) VA Health Care System

Dallas (TX) VA Medical Center

Michael E. DeBakey VA Health Care System (Houston TX)

Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital (San Antonio TX)

Richmond (VA) VA Health Care System

Puget Sound (WA) VA Health Care System

Milwaukee (WI) VA Health Care System

🎉 💻 🖱️📞 📱Please share this list with anyone who might benefit from this information.

If you are planning to get in line pronto, let us know how it went. Planning to delay or skip it, why? (Because I have been severely allergic from early childhood, I will skip the 2-dose vaccines in favor of 1-dose. And made in America only. No multi-dose vials either.)

See: https://www.cdc.gov/injectionsafety/one-and-only.html

Remember VA: “Safe injection practices are part of Standard Precautions. A good rule to remember is One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time.”

Laura (Guest Author)

Posted in All about Veterans, Community Care Network, Corona pandemic, Corona virus, Food for thought, Guest authors, medical injections, non-va care, Uncategorized, VA Health Care | 11 Comments

Senate passes veto-proof defense bill with three new Agent Orange presumptives

I’m glad this has finally passed the Senate (Link). If you want Pres. Trump to sign it right away, tweet him @realDonaldTrump. Too many vets have died waiting for this.

“WASHINGTON — A measure was included in the final version of the defense bill to grant Department of Veterans Affairs benefits to tens of thousands of Vietnam War veterans believed to be suffering the effects of Agent Orange.

A group of lawmakers Wednesday finalized the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, a policy and spending bill for the Defense Department that passes through Congress every year. It’s a compromise between separate versions of the bill passed earlier this year by the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-led House.

The final version includes a measure that would approve benefits for Vietnam War veterans suffering from bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson’s-like symptoms — conditions thought to be caused by exposure to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange. The provision would add the diseases to the VA presumptive list, which lowers the amount of proof veterans must provide in order to receive VA benefits.”

Source:

https://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/ndaa-would-add-three-conditions-to-va-list-of-illnesses-caused-by-agent-orange-1.654051

Laura (Guest author)

Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, Food for thought, General Messages, Guest authors, Uncategorized, VA Agents, VA Health Care, vA news, Vietnam Disease Issues, VSOs | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

THE DAY AFTER THE DAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY

December 8th is an easy day to remember. For all of you, it’s merely a follow-on to the first horrific sneak attack on America. Oddly, in some respects, that’s identical to how a lot of spouses feel about having their wedding anniversaries sneak up on them and attack in the form of angry recriminations from the significant other for their memory lapse(s). I solved the problem by picking an immutable day-one that should always be easy to remember rather than suffering that ignominy year after year.

Just so none of you make a mistake using this trick, using dates like the day after Easter, Labor Day and Fat Tuesday are right out. Federal holidays are poor choices, too. Obviously, you’re going to have to get the better half involved in any choice of that “Big” day but you can always bluff them on using July 5th or December 26th with “Well, I checked with my astrologist and that’s the day when  Lung Cancer is on the cusp of Electron and its ninth moon is in eclipse-a very propitious day it is. Yessssss. ” Hey, it worked for me. What can I say? Just make sure the better half doesn’t read her Horoscope religiously.

Fortunately, Coronalife is hardly boring at LZ Grambo. We feed or interact with the horses thrice daily whether we ride or not. Ambush, our feral cat who truthfully moved in back on Labor Day Weekend in 2011 (see how that works?), is perpetually lazing about seeking Love in the Time of Corona. Cupcake  hums old Paul Simon  ditties like Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard while she’s feeding them. Everything’s turning into Corona this and Corona that-even Rosie, Queen of Corona.

This is our 33rd anniversary. I’ve tested several phrases over the last several decades such as “Wow, it almost feels like a lifetime.” or “I don’t know how I- I mean we- made it.” I meant them in earnest.  I think the idea finally sank in after about 10 years of marital bliss that saying shit when nothing needs to be said can be hazardous to your health- or your wallet. That important date theme even extends to Cupcake’s birthday which I assure you I could never have influenced. While never exact, like December 8th, hers often hits on Opening Day of Buck season (or thereabouts)-the second Saturday in October. Apparently, it, too, is on the cusp of something. I made that fatal error one year when Princess asked how I was going to solve the paradox of being in two places simultaneously. Inveigled into opining, I ventured a neutral “Well shucks, Babycakes,  I’m really going to miss you.” Apparently that was the incorrect response. I think it was a set up. She invited her best friend to stay at the Seattle Westin Penthouse for the weekend. I needed  24-inch Barbecue tongs to handle the American Express bill a month later. I almost had to refi the house. I had no idea a bottle of 1945 Chateau Laffite went for $1450 dollars US. The kids rifled through the mini-bar in the room three days running. Using the bill as a guide, it appeared they were selling Doritos by the chip. Ditto the M&Ms.

Well I’m Movin’ on, Movin’ on from town to town

This is the primary reason I bought five acres and put in apple trees. Now I can be with Cupcake on her speshull day and still bag a nice spike or 2-point from the back deck before the November rut-or hell- even in August. Now if I could figure out how to call in a bull Elk…

Speaking of deer, some of my friends over the years have made jokes about my vehicular propensity for hitting deer that jump out in front of me. No one in their right mind would aim for a 200-pound animal at 40mph. My best friend began telling folks I always checked off Modern Vehicle instead of Modern Rifle on my Hunting License versus black powder or archery. That’s a lie. There is no such selection on the application. Once, on April Fool’s day back in the 90’s, I discovered some butt head “friend” had put those deer whistles on my front bumper that are supposed to scare them off the highway far in advance. He purposefully put them on backwards and posted it on social media. So just to set the record straight, I don’t hunt with a 20.06 Dodge Magnum. That’s pure horsepucky. It was a 2001 one-ton B3500 extended van and I only hit two total with it. Statistically speaking, hitting 12 deer in a lifetime with your vehicle is well within the average for most of us unless I’m mistaken.

After 33 years, I’m in uncharted territory and have been for decades. My first marriage only lasted 4 years. I’m just guessing it was incompatibility but her birthday was on December 26th so I had that going for me for a while. That wasn’t why I chose her as wife number one and it dang sure wasn’t because of her cooking. Martha Stewart she wasn’t and she hated venison, too. We had a geographical difference of opinion. She was born and raised in California. I wasn’t. With the advent of global warming, it turns out now, in retrospect, that my choice of the Pacific Northwest after coming home from RVN was a blessing in disguise-especially for hunting.

I’m sure by now most of you folks are about fed up with this social isolation crap. I can’t even imagine what I’d do cooped up in a 1,000 square foot apartment. It’s a testimonial to love to me that Cupcake and I are still speaking. I also credit that to being able to actually escape and wander about outside and never see another human being-let alone get within 6 feet of one. Unbeknownst to me, my outing down to Fresno and back February 4th-7th this spring to see my good friend Sam before he passed was the beginning of the lockdown. With both Cupcake’s and my immune systems compromised by illness/cancer, we have been lying low ever since.

As most of you with VA claims also know, this has really gummed up the VA. They have begun doing c&p exams again- but now only by the gomers at LHI/VES/QTC. No more VA doctors if VA has their say. Congress doesn’t seem to share their enthusiasm. They (VA) have taken to hiring out more complicated c&ps via the “ACE” process. To the uninitiated, that means some chucklehead neuro doc can legally state (for his 30 pieces of silver) that everything you have is not at least as likely as not related to anything you are claiming without ever setting eyes on you in person. ACE stands for “Acceptable Clinical Evidence”. That also means the dickhead will dig up every negative phrase you (or any other c&p doctor) ever uttered about your illness/injury  and use it as proof positive that even you believe you’re bluffing. I represent a Korean Vet now who survived the Chosin Reservoir massacre state that he got headaches and defective memory problems (to mention just a few of his residuals) after he woke up from a one-month coma from encephalitis. For aeons, if we tried to diagnose ourselves, VA would pull our choke collar and clothesline us with it by saying we were not Ben Casey M.D. and could not diagnose diddlysquat.  So how come, now that we’re in the grip of this Coronacrap, can these same idiots claim that we are knowledgeable enough to do so?

The neurodoc I mention above also began talking like a law dog and saying Jandreau v Nicholson was on point. WTF, over?  The Courts have long held, all the way back to the Benito Layno circus in ’94, that we can discuss anything we can smell, see, hear, taste and feel about our “condition”.  We just have to keep our  story straight and leave out the chemtrail articles and that alien abduction where they implanted the sensor in the back of your brain. You lose your  presumption of credibility when you discuss these things. Thus, my Korean Vet can freely discuss all his residuals of encephalitis such as his face going numb when he gets a headache and loses his sense of smell. Or explaining why, since 1951, he goes NASDAQ mentally if someone pisses him off. His competence to testify is now being hamstrung by his lack of credibility to cogently explain it in layman’s terms. Shoot, if I had 3-4 headaches a day and was eating Ibuprofen like Tic-Tacs since 1951, I’d say that was credible lay testimony-especially from a Vet with a CIB. Well, yes. Everywhere but at a VA c&p or an ACE c&p.

I’m beginning to discover that getting an IMO for my Vets at the Regional level is no longer the panacea it was pre-Corona. How can that be? Hickson, Shedden and Caluza are Holy Writ. If you cannot win with one, does that mean the Benefit of the Doubt died from the Kung Flu? Fortunately, that doesn’t hold true at the BVA. At least their common sense and notion of fair play still prevails pour le moment. The downside is that Vets have to wait two years to get what is their due. Seems I recall all them fellers telling us that was why we needed to pass  the AMA in the first place- to “streamline the system” and promote quicker decisions.

Hopefully, we won’t be subjected to too many more months of this insanity. Don’t take this as a rant about wearing masks or an aversion to doing the 6-foot version of the Macarena. If wearing a mask will keep me alive, I’ll do it. If my governor keeps moving the “All Clear” signal too much further into 2021, he risks creating a bow wave of resistance absent any supportive rationale. Gee. That sounds like the new AMA. But I digress. This was supposed to be about a day of infamy and how to use it as a teaching moment for marital survival.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Merry Christmas to you all. Be patient. This is a bit like being constipated. All things must pass.

Posted in Humor, VA Agents | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments