Ever believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Faery? Shoot. Of course you did. Towards the end, you really struggled to believe even though everything pointed to a litany of lies. How come Santa’s signature looked just like Mommy’s? How come the Yoda doll had a ToysBUs® price sticker on the box? All these queshuns. My best friend Stephen Sheehy shared the mouse trap technique to catch the friggin’ Tooth Babe so I could drag her in and show her to my sisters to prove them wrong. Boy howdy did that one backfire. Mom didn’t speak to me for a week and a guaranteed source of income dried up. Poof. Just like that. Stephen’s a lawyer in Annandale, VA. now right near where we all grew up at Seven Corners. Pretty sketchy advice for a future lawdog.
Likewise, with the advent of the new Appeals Management Act, we all desperately wanted to rebelieve the VA and Congress were recommitted to helping Him who shall have borne the battle. One of these days, Trump or one of his ilk will declare henceforth that from __/__/____, any reference to a veteran shall be capitalized as ‘Veteran’ to distinguish Our club from veterans of 20 years at Bob’s Used Car Lot or veterans of the Multnomah Fire Dept. for over 10 years ad nauseum. Just remember I began capitalizing Us here in 2008.
False Alarm. VA didn’t get all warm and fuzzy. It didn’t get easier. It didn’t become less complicated judging by how many calls we get here at asknod. I was beginning to see the footprints all over some of my claims so I began to take them up a notch. I recently did the hat trick for A&A with a side of extreme fall risk from Parkinson’s. John arrived for the C&P with me pushing him in his wheeled chariot. The doctor did everything in his power not to test him to see if he could walk. They got him up to weigh him and again just to prove he could get up when pulled up by two nurses. I politely asked the asshat “Doctor” from EBF Malaysia if they were doing a Loss of Use exam that day. Negatory. But I can see it in the exam request. After they only coughed up A&A, I emailed the Assistant Director Caesar Whatzizbutt (and VA Secretary Wilkie just for shits and grins) and politely asked them to reconsider their decision. John also just got a bummer from the VAMC with his new A&A. Seems they misdiagnosed him on the fatigue for the last 8 months. Turned out it was acute lymphoblastic Leukemia so they gave him another 100%. That gets him a bump up to SMC M. Whoopee. The leukemia needs a SMC L for Aid and Attendance all by itself. What? you never heard of two A&A awards? Well Pilgrim, take your protein pill and strap on the brain bucket. Read this gem.
I laid that one on Caesar and it went over like a deer in the headlights. It was about that time that I realized he probably doesn’t even know how to write in cursive let alone use legal reasoning. It’s also why the RVSRs all have to use the SMC calculator to do SMC math. I joke but they probably also require two signatures to go to the bathroom, too-if, mind you- the bathroom request was submitted on the correct form. If not, resubmit.
So, here’s how I know for certain sure the new AMA is merely a retread of the old Legacy. It’s a new paint job but still the rusty Chevy underneath. It began back in 2017 when we submitted a §1151 malpractice claim for Chase. Just on a hunch, I threw in a claim for SC for his underlying Hepatitis C that caused the cirrhosis and the need for a new liver. Actually, they tried to hose a F4 barely compensated cirrhotic individual avec elevated ANA with the magic Triple Drug Cocktail of Interferon, Ribavirin and Telepravir. He lasted a month and went belly up. VA had denied this before we got back from putting the flag up on the mailbox. I got really good records from the transplant doc and another Doctor in Little Rock saying they would never have done this with Sovaldi/Harvoni right around the corner and in trials. There was also the fact that VA didn’t get a signed signature to inject shit into his body cavity (Interferon). Yep. Can you believe it? They got two verbal okays if you believe in hearsay. But just because you’re a nurse’s assistant, your word is not enough. VA demands a John Hancock on an electronic record stored in VistA. Check out §17.32(d)(v). I told the Coach there was none. She flogged the CAPRI folks three times from August to October and predictably, they finally conceded there was none. The SOC says they informed him verbally twice and that was good enough. Not…
But the best part comes later. Just as they are getting ready to launch the SOC torpedo, some rocket ranger gasps and says hold the phone, Ramone. We forgot to adjudicate the Hep C. Another month goes by and they redig the punji pit a little larger to accommodate a longer SOC. This puppy was about 50-odd pages. §17.32(d)(v), of course, was AWOL. But you see the silver lining. When he wins the Hep C claim , the §1151 claim becomes moot.
I promptly called up Mednick and we beat the 60-day suspense date for rebuttal. But, drawing on a hunch, I decided to go the Supplemental Lane with a 20-995. They take about 25 days to realize you aren’t going away and know how to play VA poker. Bingo. They grant and you’re done after a few arguments about TDIU etc. But I screwed up. There’s a box in #13 you have to check saying you’re opting in to the AMA from an SOC or SSOC. I forgot to check it. A week later I look in the file to see if they got it and this is what I see (below). They’ve gone into a huddle and their mutual decision is to let this expire as a legacy appeal due to lack of a filed Form 9. They then accept it as a supplemental the day after Bingo and grant and screw Chase out of 4 years of retro. They know they’re going to lose but they ‘re going to shaft him. Read this. It plumb rolled my socks down.
Bingo day for the VA 9 would be 3/14/2020. I spotted this on the 3/07 and raced to the c box and checked the opt-in from Legacy box. I redated everything in the .pdf and resubmitted 3/07. And then… I emailed the RVSR who was biding his time drinking his wine. I thanked him for reminding me of this box-checking error in VBMS and that the correctly “x”d 20-0995 had been timely refiled minutes before. Since the Secretary abhors squandering scarce judicial resources on these boondogles, it would be far more “nonadversarial” if he waited a few days and accept the timely filed correction as an AMA opt-in. The phone rang about a minute later and Jesus Arroyo from Houston VBA 362 started spluttering about how did I get his email and who in the Sam effing Hill am I. We chatted a piece and I allowed as how this wasn’t about me ‘n him. It was about ol’ Chase who had borne the Battle. It wasn’t a contest to see who could win. I tried to lay out Comer versus Peake but lost him about 20 words in. Jesus has some anger management issues he needs to work through.
In the VBMS notes, I can see where he assigned it to Appeals Team “Teaching Moment 4” and quality review to make sure they know Jesus was the one who discovered the missing X. Credit where credit is due. Disgusting. These people are lower than guttersnipes.
Jesus agreed to hold his water and wait for my “timely” box-checked 995 to arrive in Janesville. I told him he should also be able to find it in the Electronically transmitted Queue. He knows that but he was too pissed to admit it. It’s hard to play dumb when you realize the “enemy” can speak Pig Latin too. Can you imagine. There went his Christmas bonus for screwing a Vet out of $120 K in retro. Up in smoke, Cheech!
I’d put up his SOC but it would eat too many gagabites. The mail gal arrived with it on a forklift it was so heavy. No- just kidding. It was only 56 pages. I guess it takes a mite more fancy paper talking to try to dance around the difference between a written recorded signature and “we done tol’ him twice there gonna be risks”. The VA’s IMO was done by none other than Dr. Shirin DaSilva-the same idiot who discussed ingesting polyvinyl chloride (PVC pipe) at Camp Le Jeune, NC. I looked her up. She’s a cheap VA Judas for only $137 K a year. She’s getting ripped off. She could go to work for Jim Hill over at VetComp&Pen down in Jacksonville. Rumor has it they pay well .
The bottom line is this- nothing has changed. VA doesn’t play by the rules. They planned to just let this puppy time out and then call it a fait accompli. “Goooooooolleeeeeeee, doggies, Mistah Glaham. If we’d caught it in time we coulda fixed it but now that time has come and gone. The good news is we’re gonna recognize that ol’ 995 you filed and grant. Yes sireee. Here’s your brand new rating with a March 14th, 2020 effective date- the very earliest day we could upload it for you legally. Y’all come back now. Hear?” Nothing gives me greater pleasure than wiping shiteaten grins off these pukes’ faces.
I have about three or four more of those daisies up my sleeve but this was the best one. Now, if you have a moment, please say a prayer for Chase. He went into the Nashville Vanderbilt ICU this morning with pneumonia and a fever. It’s looking ugly. He’s not responding to verbal commands as of 1800 local here. It could have been worse. He could have gone to Death Valley VAMC in Little Rock.
Cupcake and I won’t be at Spring Break in Atlanta (NOVA). They called it off on account of the Corona Beer virus.