Sunday, April 01, 2012

Addressing the VA's Claims Backlog

You must pardon our skepticism…we have some doubts…but the DVA is ALWAYS right…isn’t it?

Several days ago there was an announcement by the DVA. They proudly trotted out the Secretary to announce a major innovation that will speed claims processing! Few details were given, but they were all described as “medical forms” -- all 63 of them. 63 new “medical forms” introduced into the DVA’s claims processing system with Secretary Shinseki stating, “VA employees will be able to more quickly process disability claims, since disability benefits questionnaires capture important medical information needed to accurately evaluate Veterans’ claims. Disability benefits questionnaires are just one of many changes VA is implementing to address the backlog of claims.”

With over a million claims in backlog, the DVA geniuses figure 63 more forms, some of which may be multiple pages, will make the backlog go away.

Let’s repeat that so you can think about it.

With over a million claims in backlog, the DVA geniuses figure 63 more forms, some of which may be multiple pages, will make the backlog go away.

Let’s see, it takes time to print them, then to develop a curriculum to train the good folks who have accumulated a million plus claim backlog, then to train those same folks, after which they will turn those forms loose on the many Veterans Service Officers who help Veterans with their claims, and then on the Veterans who handle their own claims.

Nothing was said about these forms replacing older, outdated forms. Rather, they are being ADDED to the forms both a Veteran and the DVA Claims processor must go through and complete in order to file a claim.

The DVA says that adding those 63 new forms to the process will go a long way toward clearing that backlog.

Yep, we can see how this would have an immediate effect on the DVA’s million plus claims backlog.

How about two, three or even four million claims in that backlog?

[At our C&P exam we were given our complete file in a locked bag to take from one doctor to another. We almost needed a wheelbarrow. Having filed the claim ourselves, we were amazed by how much paper was in that bag! It must have weighed 30 pounds. We generated about 10% of that by submitting our medical records.]

We always thought Secretary Shinseki to be an intelligent man, and he probably is. But he must also be the most gullible man on earth to believe what the Maniacal Morons at the DVA who came up with this idea sold him on…as a fix for the claims backlog!

“Disability benefits questionnaires are just one of many changes VA is implementing to address the backlog of claims,” Shinseki said.

One shudders to think what else might be in store as a fix for the million claims backlog.

We have a fix in mind…it involves firing everyone in the DVA’s Washington DC HQ [stands for HindQuarters]. That includes Shinseki. Replace them all with Veterans. Get the policy weenies out of the way, and put Veterans who know what the cost of their service REALLY means in their places. Get rid of their medical and scientific people, too. Have Congress task the Institute of Medicine with determining its own directions for doing Veterans related statistical and medical and scientific studies. Don’t let anyone with a Political Science, or law degree, or an Ivy League education within a mile of DVA HQ [Stands for HindQuarters]. Let Veterans run the DVA. Let no one into that building who is NOT a Veteran, except as a visitor.

We think that would guarantee the elimination of the backlog within a year.


”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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  1. Anonymous08:53

    That is the best idea I ever heard of. As a member of the Blue Water
    vn veterans I have submitted a claim two times for laryngeal cancer (presumed disability)and it was denied two times. Handled by the DAV and AL. Neither Org. made contact with me, called me or got involved except collect paperwork.The amazing turn was that I was never even called in for a VA examination.If someone did the homework they would find that this cancer had a 30 yr manifestation rate.My claim was denied 2 times without any action .
    Just another piece of paper.

  2. Anonymous09:12

    Unfortunately, the DVA has not addressed who will pay for these formsto be completed by the doctors. Most doctors have a sign posted all forms needing to be filled out for disability, will cost a fee of $25.00. With that being said, the larger majority of veterans are already on lacking, or strand budgets.Some will have atleast 3 different forms for 3 different illnesses. A whopping cost of 75.00. Should not te DVA address this issue also? I applaud them trying to find an equal balance with the backlog of claims. It does show the VA is trying to find the correct solution.

  3. One thing is absent on the DBQs. Caluza held that we need a nexus letter. There is nothing on these that provides for it. It is simply a compendium of the disease process with no etiology. For HCV claimants, that is the death knell to their claim. We have seen how the VA "supplies" a nexus in the event our VSOs "neglect" to mention we need one. Almost all seem to conclude that the Veteran was involved in willful misconduct or that it would be too speculative to opine on the etiology. This is the same as a denial of the risk. With the advent of the PTSD nexus now in the purview of the VA, how long will it be before all nexus letters will be generated by them?

  4. Anonymous13:20

    Actually, Shenseki is right. Most of these forms came out in the last quarter last year. They have resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of exam reports that need to be sent back to the medical centers for correction or completion.

    Now, with the forms being approved for your own physician to complete, that can significantly speed up the processing of your claim. The Parkinson's claim, for example - it took my doctor all of 5 minutes to complete it as I sat there. Yes, your private doctor can complete it and it is at your own cost. But, I find that a lot of doctors, if they are your treating doctors, will give veterans a break and not charge, particuarly if the DBQs can be completed quickly.

    Also, if you get your care at a VA facility, your treating practitioner (doctor, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant) can complete the DBQ and they, of course, cannot charge you since they work for the VA.

    Anytime you make a claim and can submit your own report on the DBQ, that eliminates the need for a VA exam, meaning that the claim can be processed quickly. This will be particularly true for claims for an increase since service connection has already been granted on them.

    As for the Blue Water vet above, yes, laryngeal cancer is presumptively caused by exposure to Agent Orange. My guess is that the reason your claim was denied is that Blue Water vets have not yet been approved as presumptively having been exposed to Agent Orange. Check to make sure your ship isn't one of those that has more recently been allowed - and continue working with all of the folks lobbying hard to expand the presumptions to Blue Water vets.

    As for the DBQs, I work for the VA - as some of those who know me can confirm, I have been a staunch critic of VA when they are not doing right by vets. This time I firmly believe that the Secretary is doing right by vets. Give it some time and see what happens.

    Those of you submitting claims for increase, with a completed DBQ, let us know what happens. If it speeds up, great. Tell us that. If it doesn't, I'll send you the Secretary's email address and you can write directly to him and tell him.

    Just give it a bit of time.

    Semper Fi

  5. Anonymous13:22

    Forgot to say - although I work for VA I don't speak for them. Never have and never will. I advocate for veterans. Period.

    This is not at all coming from VA itself. These opinions and comments are mine alone.

    Semper Fi

  6. Anonymous19:09

    Once again, we're being fed a glimpse of sun light as the VA stalls for more time to let us old Vets die and go away.
    "We willing led by the unknown and the ungrateful, having given are all for our country, and done so with honor, now wonder how we so blindly followed orders.
    We live in pain and sorrow, many of us with no hope. If I new then, back in 67 & 68, what I know now I would require the Military to give me 5 and a half years before I had to pull a trigger. At least then I would feel better about waiting 5 and a half years to get help.
    Its truly demoralizing!

  7. VA asks that you summarize everything on the DBQ. The VA trusts you so much that they require the Doctor submit it directly by fax. Once you turn the form over, that's the last time you will handle or see it until it's in the C-file. There is no place for a nexus statement. VA personnel have been told in many VAMCs to decline to do these nexus letters. DBQs? Yes. Nexus no. If Va feels your claim has merit, they will still do an extensive C&P exam and verify everything on the DBQ all over again. The form is useful for figuring out which claims go to the circular file immediately.

  8. Anonymous12:27

    Isn't Shinseki a veteran??

  9. Yes, a former Army General who was very the point he was tucked away in the DVA where he couldn't do too much damage and would have no choice but to obey the entrenched anti-Veterans who run the department.