Before I inveigh on the Winston Salem chowderheads for their transgressions, I wanted to pass along some valuable information to you guys. When you’re a) down to your last four eggs, and b) you’re planning on serving them scrambled anyway; and c) you accidentally drop them on the floor (which is incredibly clean), I discovered you can’t pick them buggers up using a spatula. All is not lost, however. I rescued mine with a turkey baster. Yeppers. Sucked those puppies up, I did. I just thought I’d pass that helpful homemaker tip along to you guys. Where was I? Ah, yes. The Cigarette RO. Boy howdy is that going to become politically incorrect one of these days like Confederate statues.
This is bigger news than that old boy who had to sleep on the floor at the Alvin C. York Memorial VAMC in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Imagine filing a claim for nasal cancer due to AO. It’s a small cell carcinoma in the nasopharangeal passage on the way to the lungs which makes me think it’s fair game. If you get SC for lung cancer (which is a small cell carcinoma) due to AO, what’s the distinction? Cancer isn’t too particular as to where it manifests.
I asked for a Flash on his VBMS folder as terminally ill. This gets your foot in the door for a pronto adjudication. In the old Segmented Lanes Model, this was sent to the Express Lane for a 78 RPM decision. In the New World Order of VA claims, they send it to Winston Salem for their VSR(s) to pontificate on and say it ain’t so. In fact, the W-S gal even called me on June 21st to give me the good news and bad. They were granting P&T for his IHD but denying the nasal cancer. As he promptly died 9 days later from the cancer, any hope of DIC immediately flew out the window. Funny how that works. I can almost hear Maxwell Smart opining “Missed the 10 year requirement by thaaaaaaat much, boss”.
But here’s the glitch. With our new ICU2 TV set called VBMS, I “saw” Winston Salem enter the decision and the Confirmed Ratings Sheet in real time (June 19th). Quite coincidentally, I had been haggling with the Seattle VA over Bob’s inability to attend his C&P exam. You know how that works, right? You’re just too dog-ass tired to drag yourself out of bed, peel off that Fentanyl patch, get dressed and chug some coffee to counteract all the morphine sulfate you’ve been hosing from the eyedropper. Throw in that you’re semi-comatose and lost your cognitive abilities weeks ago anyway and that c&p really isn’t up there in your wheelhouse. Hospice shit will do that to you.
My Angel of Mercy (CMA Tina) at the Seattle Puzzle Palace was able to induce the VES doctor to do the unheard of- make a house call. She (the doctor, not Tina) dutifully arrived on- wait for it- Tuesday, June 19th bright and early. The good doctor opined in no uncertain terms that Bob’s cancer was at least as likely as not due to dining on too much Agent Tang during his two tours back-to-back in country. We call it the Dioxin Diet now. Helps eviscerate strong bodies 12 different ways. I was on it for two years as well. I pray fervently every night I, too, don’t join the Carcinoma Club.
Due to the vagaries of getting a c&p uploaded into VBMS in a timely fashion, Bob’s diagnosis wasn’t dutifully entered until June 29th, 2018. It didn’t go unnoticed. I called up my RO director’s secretary (Laura) on July 2nd and pointed out the dichotomy of deciding a claim ten days prior to receiving the results of the c&p. Laura immediately hammered out the VAF 27-0820 Holy Shit Batman report and uploaded it into the HAL 8000 VAICU2 TV. VA doesn’t seem to think anything is amiss. I still haven’t heard back on it. Perhaps the NOD will be the wake-up call. I filed that daisy yesterday alleging misfeasance and demanded an a) reconsideration based on all the evidence; or b) a motion to revise it.
I filed the notice of disagreement yesterday. I had to wait to get his widow substituted in his stead. VA even went so far as to 86 my access to his VBMS record in the interim. Here’s what I missed in my forced absence. These Bozos actually uploaded the 4 DBQs for the c&p not once but 8 more times in the ensuing two weeks after the June 29th entry. Talk about constructive possession from Hell of the documents a la Bell v. Derwinski. No flies on these ol’ boys.
One thing I love about VBMS is the transparency. This is one of those rare instances where it occurs with notable frequency. VA can’t camouflage their machinations any better than the Palestinian donkeys cum zebras. How about these daisies…
Harvey in Sioux Falls filed in ’92 for a header he took on the high seas in ’84. They couldn’t find his records because somebody entered his SSN wrong. Fortunately, the VBMS caught the problem in 2013 when some chucklehead put two and two together. What are the odds you’d have two Vets with the exact same name and DOB who served in the Navy at the exact same time but with dissimilar SSNs with one digit difference? So, what happens? They SC him lickity spit but neglect to tell him they’ve just associated Service Treatment Records from 1984 into his claims file. Ruh-oh Rorge… Here comes §3.156(c). Or…
Chris , who uses the David Koresh Memorial Regional Office in Whacko, Texas has been denied SC or lowballed for 40 years. He points out he was medievac’d to CONUS in 1969 after losing an altercation with a jeep going 35 mph at An Khe when he hopped out of his Huey gunship for a smoke break. PSP is softer than concrete- but not by much. He happens to remember he was seen (and indeed an inpatient for 3 months) at the William Beaumont Army Medical Hospital back then. He even noted in his contemporary 526 that the records were there. The Rocket boys at Fort Waco immediately send out a PIES request for the records- albeit in 2018 and not 1971.
Bingo- incoming. 53 pages of Service Department Records never before associated with the claims file appeared magically from Beaumont Army Center. Do you think they bothered to tell Chris he gets a reopen with reconsideration of all his claims clean back to 1971? No way, Jose. Yep. §3.156(c) all over again. Counting Butch, that’s three (3) §3.156(c) claims for 1970, 1971 and 1992 in less than two years. Do you see a pattern or do I have the Force? Omniscient, I’m not.
My all time favorite currently up on a Motion to Revise is the one where they say John had a bunged up finger in 1983 when he entered service. They did four surgeries to “correct” the severed ulnar nerve and ended up destroying his right hand and wrist. So often we forget Murphy’s First Law- “No good deed goes unpunished”. Yep. Loss of use-but with an interesting twist. They deducted (as in simple subtraction) 10% for the bonked finger from the LOU of right upper extremity. In VA mathematicsland, apparently, 60+10 = 64% which rounds down. Similarly, 70% minus 10% would yield 67% which rounds back up to, ruh-oh- 70%. Repair order? Oh, bother! Screw §4.25. 70%-10% = 60%. Next? Look it up in §3.310(b)…
The rating activity will determine the baseline and current levels of severity under the Schedule for Rating Disabilities (38 CFR Part 4) and determine the extent of aggravation by deducting the baseline level of severity, as well as any increase in severity due to the natural progress of the disease, from the current level.
Gee, does that mean using VA’s own math in 38 CFR Part 4 as in §4.25? Reverse interpolation (extrapolation?) would be my guess. 70%-10%= 67% in VA’s convoluted math but they make up the rules as they go so it probably is only applicable in Alaska, Puerto Rico and Hawaii… but only if it occurred on a Thursday… in an odd month… with a full moon… and you were an Aries.
So, folks, and especially all of you out there who have retrieved your claims files from the maw of the shredder, keep your eyes peeled for those VA PIES requests for Inpatient Treatment Records from hospitals. Remember, they were not kept on the 6th floor where the Friday July 13th, 1973 records barbecue was held. Chances are two things may happen. You might find they disremembered to include them when they contacted NPRC for your STRs way back when or… they plumb forgot to tell you they just found them and that’s why they suddenly had a change of heart over granting that reopened claim for ______.