Thanks to Frank’s helpful eyeballs, I have some good news to report about the veteran emergency care benefit that has been withheld since 2010. Sec. Shulkin has had a change of heart. Last week he held that the Staab case was wrongly decided by the
CAVC. On June 22, he announced that he was withdrawing his appeal (LINK).
Shulkin told Rounds that VA has completed draft regulations to implement the new emergency care benefit, sending them to the Office of Management and Budget. Draft regulations must clear OMB and be published in the Federal Register for comment before VA can begin reimbursements. That process could take nine months or more, Shulkin advised the committee last week.
Mr. Staab and his legal team deserve a big thank you. Press release (June 16, 2017): NVLSP Wins $2 Billion in Medical Care Benefits for Hundreds of Thousands of Veterans (LINK). It’s hard to know if the VA will throw vets a curve ball, but NVLSP writes:
“The announcement by Secretary Shulkin indicating the VA will “voluntarily withdraw” its appeal means that the 2016 court ruling will stand.”
Stichman believes that the veteran would have to take action to file a new claim and argue that the past denial was based on “clear and unmistakable error.” Stichman believes that cases currently pending before the VA will directly benefit from the Court’s decision.
6/14/17 Veterans Affair Committee, Video–starts after 20 minutes: https://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings/fiscal-year-2018-budget-06142017
I’ve been watching the appeal move through the dockets with disgust so this seems like a remarkable turn of events. We’ll see if there are any famous VA gotcha’s after the commenting period. Links to my older posts on Staab are below.