October 7, 2014

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear SGT Shaft,
I applied for an Agent Orange related VA claim beginning in 2000. I was working in S. Korea in 1969 and 1970 assigned to B CO, 2nd ENGR BN, 2nd INF DIV on the DMZ almost daily. In 2005 the claim was reopened after the VA said they could not locate me. I was working overseas, and my family did not inform me or answer the mail. So the new effective date is 2005.

My claim for Diabetes Mellitus II (DM II) was awarded this year in Mar with the notation that it was due to herbicide exposure, but the effective date was made at Feb 2011 or so that the VA said was due to the new liberalizing law. I have given a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) based on the fact that the new law refers to the 3 diseases that were added by Congress that year. Diabetes Mellitus II (DM II) has been on the original list of presumptive diseases since the start of the agent orange claims. I am still waiting for this NOD to be decided by VA.

I have additional medical issues that are related to DM II and some that are not related to Agent Orange. I have provided the VA with Disability Benefit Questionnaires (DBQ”s) for each of them this year. One for the hearing (tinnitus) was submitted around Aug this year and it was already decided. The other DBQ’s were for peripheral neuropathy both upper and lower extremities, Kidney dysfunction, Erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, and PTSD.

I watched closely the hearings and news about the VA problems. So far, it doesn’t look to me that any changes will be made to the VA system. The people that made the mistakes will not be held accountable. There will still be the denial of benefits by the VA.

For instance, I was just notified by VA that they are asking for me to name the soldier I worked with in S. Korea that was electrocuted next to me on my PTSD claim. You know 1969 and 1970 is a long time ago, additionally my PTSD is related to memory loss particularly my memory of the tour in Korea. For a long time I did not recall the details of my tour in Korea except that I drank a lot of alcohol. I do remember the name of another soldier that was seriously hurt by electrical shock next to me in 1979.

This information will be researched by me like the operational reports for the unit which cost me about $600.00. I hope I can find the name of the soldier killed in 1970. But if I cannot I am sure the VA will deny the claim as they did continuously since 2000.

It is clear to me there will no changes with the VA until people are fired or incarcerated for the mistakes they make while denying claims. I know a lot of veterans would have already given up and this has been a temptation but I am stubborn. I also have young children that require me to think of their future and the effect the decisions will be for them.

Do you know what I need to do to get the information the VA is asking for?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide with this request.

Fred
Via the internet

Dear Fred
Those in the know at VA tell they are in the process of working on your claim.

Shaft Notes
In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it will join forces with retailer Walgreens to provide greater access to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended vaccinations to Veterans across the country. This partnership grew out of a successful pilot program that began in Florida to provide flu vaccines to Veterans throughout the state.  Based on those results, VA is expanding the pilot nationwide.

Through its nearly 8,200 locations nationwide, Walgreens will offer flu and other recommended vaccinations to Veterans. Pharmacists can administer vaccinations to Veterans and will leverage eHealth Exchange, through its Walgreens Cloud Electronic Health Records platform, to securely share immunization records with VA to help ensure complete patient medical records.

Vaccinations are available daily during all pharmacy hours with no appointment necessary and are subject to availability.

“VA is proud to partner with Walgreens to provide needed vaccines to our nation’s Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “This partnership is a great example of how government and the private sector can work together to effectively and efficiently provide Veterans the care and benefits that they’ve earned.”

“Walgreens is committed to supporting our Veterans, and we are proud to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide convenient access to vaccines,” said Walgreens President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Wasson. “This is an excellent opportunity for our pharmacists to help VA educate Veterans about the importance of vaccinations, to improve immunization rates through greater access and to contribute to helping veterans get, stay and live well.”

 “The VA-Walgreens partnership gives Veterans greater choice in time and location for getting their flu shots without having to complete any other VA forms,” said Interim Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Carolyn Clancy. “With this program, the Veteran patient’s record is integrated, and VA maintains a complete immunization record that allows us to more effectively provide patient-centered care.”

Vaccines are subject to availability.  Age, state and health related restrictions may apply. Many immunizations may be covered by commercial insurance plans, Medicare Part B or Medicare Part D. As part of this launch and under the agreement, VA funding can provide approximately 75,000 flu shots for enrolled veterans.  Patients are encouraged to check with their health plan for specific coverage details.

It is important however that Walgreens have the capacity to have their pharmaceutical products accessible to blinded veterans via Scripttalk, as is available at VA.

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