PDA

View Full Version : Agent Orange & the VA


JJ_BPK
10-13-2009, 18:07
FYI,, for those that might be interested..

Get to your local VA and get tested...



http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=56205

American Forces Press Service

VA to Short-cut Some Agent Orange Rulings
By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2009 - A new Department of Veterans Affairs
ruling will soon relieve Vietnam veterans suffering from three specific
illnesses from the burden of proving their ailments are linked to Agent
Orange exposure to receive VA health care and disability payments.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki's decision, announced
today, establishes a service connection for Vietnam vets stricken with
hairy-cell leukemia and other B-cell leukemias, Parkinson's disease and
ischemic heart disease, VA chief of staff John Gingrich told American Forces
Press Service.

Shinseki made the decision based on a recent report by the National
Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine. The report cited new scientific
studies pointing to a strong connection between the illnesses and Agent
Orange exposure.

Shinseki determined that evidence was compelling enough to establish a
presumption that affected veterans' illnesses are service-related, Gingrich
said.

This determination will short-cut the process for them to receive
services through what Shinseki called "a world-class health care system," as
well as monthly disability payments.

But before the ruling takes effect, it must be published in the
Federal Register and opened for final comment, Gingrich explained. He
predicted that the process would be completed early next year.

It's unclear exactly how many of the 2.1 million Vietnam veterans the
ruling will affect, Gingrich said. If 10 percent have the presumed
illnesses, that could result in some 200,000 new VA claims.

Agent Orange, named for the orange-colored barrels in which it was
stored, was sprayed widely during the Vietnam War to defoliate trees and
remove concealment for the enemy. Veterans have long blamed the herbicide
for causing a variety of illnesses, but until now, there's been no official
recognition of a link. That put the burden on veterans to prove an
association - a process Shinseki conceded too often has created an
adversarial relationship between the VA and veterans.

Shinseki, a retired Army general and a Vietnam veteran himself,
lamented this situation this summer at
a medical symposium in San Antonio.

"I have asked why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in
Vietnam, this secretary is still adjudicating claims for presumption of
service-connected disabilities tied to its toxic effects," he told attendees
at the Association of the U.S. Army's Institute of Land Warfare Army Medical
Symposium.

Shinseki also questioned why the debilitating effects of Gulf War
illnesses still are being debated 20 years after Operation Desert Storm.

"Why weren't conclusive studies conducted by [the Department of
Defense] and VA to render presumption of service-connected disability
resulting from exposure to toxic environments associated with these
operations?" Shinseki asked. "Such findings would have facilitated VA's
settling of service-connected disability claims in far less time. The
scientific method, and the failure to advocate for the veteran, got in the
way of our processes."

Veterans deserve better, he said.

"We must do better reviews of illnesses that may be connected to
service, and we will," he said. "Veterans who endure health problems deserve
timely decisions based on solid evidence."

Shinseki's decision brings to 15 the number of presumed illnesses VA
recognizes. Others are:

-- Acute and subacute transient peripheral neuropathy;

-- AL amyloidosis;

-- Chloracne;

-- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia;

-- Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2);

-- Hodgkin's disease;

-- Multiple myeloma;

-- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma;

-- Porphyria cutanea tarda;

-- Prostate cancer;

-- Respiratory cancers; and

-- Soft-tissue sarcoma other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma.

ccrn
10-21-2009, 19:30
I spoke with the VA about my father who is a Vietnam veteran x 2. They told me that being a Vietnam vet and having prostate CA would be an automatic qualifyer for disablity benefits c agent orange being the link.

He hasnt persued it-

JJ_BPK
10-21-2009, 20:10
I spoke with the VA about my father who is a Vietnam veteran x 2. They told me that being a Vietnam vet and having prostate CA would be an automatic qualifyer for disablity benefits c agent orange being the link.

He hasnt persued it-

Your dad has C,, sorry to hear,

I have just started the process of getting my claim looked at. I am currently 30% SC PH. I have been getting the AO fliers from the VA for years and after reading the latest list, I have started a conversation with my cardiologist & neurologist, I may be showing symptoms of acute and subacute transient peripheral neuropathy. It's showing up in my ankles...

1st: the VA can make a Pope Jewish. You must be persistent, polite, and most of all, studious.

2nd: you need a trained VA Veterans Representative to act as your front man.

Then it's off to war... If your dad has a good insurance plan, the VA might not add much in the way of on-hands doctoring. But if the VA loses and your dad is recognized as being an AO victim, he will collect some disability.

My neighbor went through the VA to treat his prostate CA. His PSA score was over 14 something. I think 2.5 is the clip point... He's been good for 2 yrs, looks like they got it,, He had a couple months radiation.

any,, good luck.

My $00.0002

BMT (RIP)
10-22-2009, 04:28
Never Quit!!

I was denied a claim on my heart. The day I took my retirement physical my BP was 120/70.
VA said I was healthy.

BMT

FMF DOC
10-22-2009, 11:19
has recently come to the Chief Business Office attention that staff in the field may not be familiar with the flexibilities offered by this authority which can result in an erroneous billing to Project 112 SHAD Veteran's. Project 112 is the name of the overall program for both shipboard and land-based biological and chemical testing that was conducted by the United States military between 1962 and 1973.

Public Law 110-387, Section 803, the Veterans’ Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008, permanently provides for Veterans, who participated in Project 112, to be enrolled in Priority Enrollment Category 6. On September 30, 2009, VHA released to the field VHA Directive 2009-047, Provision of Health Care Services to Veterans Involved in Project 112-Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD) Testing. This Directive provides policy for providing Project 112-Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD) Veterans a thorough clinical evaluation and enhanced access to enrollment in PG 6, unless eligible for higher enrollment placement in the VA Health Care System. This Directive also describes the type of care for which these Veterans are eligible from VA at no cost; notwithstanding there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude their conditions are attributable to such testing.

Facility intake, eligibility and clinic scheduling staff should be reminded of the Project 112-SHAD indicator in VistA on the Registration Screen #7. By completing this field, the information is viewable in other VistA packages by clinical and administrative staff. If staff need to update this field and are unable to edit this field, they should contact the VHA HEC Alert mail group in Outlook or contact the HEC by fax at (404)982-3060 or phone (404) 828-5257.

References for this VHA Directive are Title 38 U.S.C. §1710(e)(1)(E) and Public Law 110-387, Section 803, The Veterans Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008.

This VHA Directive and other important and informative Directives and Handbooks are located on the VHA Forms and Publications website at http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/.

FMF DOC
10-22-2009, 11:29
VA Extends “Agent Orange” Benefits to More Veterans
Parkinson’s Disease, Two Other Illnesses Recognized

WASHINGTON (Oct. 13, 2009) – Relying on an independent study by the Institute of Medicine, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki decided to establish a service-connection for Vietnam Veterans with three specific illnesses based on the latest evidence of an association with the herbicides referred to Agent Orange.

The illnesses affected by the recent decision are B cell leukemias, such as hairy cell leukemia; Parkinson’s disease; and ischemic heart disease.

Used in Vietnam to defoliate trees and remove concealment for the enemy, Agent Orange left a legacy of suffering and disability that continues to the present. Between January 1965 and April 1970, an estimated 2.6 million military personnel who served in Vietnam were potentially exposed to sprayed Agent Orange.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a “presumed” illness don’t have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service. This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

The Secretary’s decision brings to 15 the number of presumed illnesses recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“We must do better reviews of illnesses that may be connected to service, and we will,” Shinseki added. “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence.”

Other illnesses previously recognized under VA’s “presumption” rule as being caused by exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War are:

• Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy
• AL Amyloidosis
• Chloracne
• Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
• Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
• Hodgkin’s Disease
• Multiple Myeloma
• Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
• Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
• Prostate Cancer
• Respiratory Cancers, and
• Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)

Additional information about Agent Orange and VA’s services and programs for Veterans exposed to the chemical are available at www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange

Dragbag036
10-22-2009, 21:34
I spoke with the VA about my father who is a Vietnam veteran x 2. They told me that being a Vietnam vet and having prostate CA would be an automatic qualifyer for disablity benefits c agent orange being the link.

He hasnt persued it-

I sent this info to my dad. He had Prostate CA and the VA did the surgery. He received monies for a while then they downgraded his condition until it just stopped. He now has diabetes and they told him everything has to be attributed to the "Orange". Said he should know something in a few weeks.

JAGO
10-23-2009, 13:29
I spoke with the VA about my father who is a Vietnam veteran x 2. They told me that being a Vietnam vet and having prostate CA would be an automatic qualifyer for disablity benefits c agent orange being the link.

He hasnt persued it-

ccrn,

Terrible news regarding your father's DX. If you can, please impress upon him that it is not only he, that benefits by his processing his paperwork. Should the prostate cancer ultimately lead to his demise (or be a factor in his death), his dependents may be entitled to DIC. (see below). Whether he processes his own claim or not, his spouse may process the claim later. But it is so much easier for the survivors if the Veteran has already established the validity of the claim to service-connection while still with us. He knows better than anyone, where his supporting documentation is stored. Likewise, he can furnish sworn testimony to the VA concerning his service. Please, whether he is lethargic about his own claim, he's not doing only for himself.

v/r
phil
P.S. Get an service officer to help with the claim, and PM me if you have questions.


http://www.military.com/benefits/survivor-benefits/dependency-and-indemnity-compensation

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of certain deceased veterans. The following is a summary of this important benefit:

Eligible Survivors
2009 Monthly Rates
2009 Additional Allowances
The Application Process
Eligible Survivors:
DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of the following:

Military service member who died while on active duty, OR
Veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR
Veteran whose death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling
for at least 10 years immediately before death, OR
since the veteran's release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR
for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.

ccrn
10-23-2009, 23:04
My dad decided to go with an outside provider, and wth the least invasive treatment. He'll have to be scanned every six months I believe.

I dont think he wants to go through the hassle, and doesnt want the money.

Mostly Id just like him to be VA connected in case he absolutely needs the care and is refused elsewhere.

Thanks everyone.

He is very stubborn-

greenberetTFS
11-12-2009, 16:09
Your dad has C,, sorry to hear,

I have just started the process of getting my claim looked at. I am currently 30% SC PH. I have been getting the AO fliers from the VA for years and after reading the latest list, I have started a conversation with my cardiologist & neurologist, I may be showing symptoms of acute and subacute transient peripheral neuropathy. It's showing up in my ankles...

1st: the VA can make a Pope Jewish. You must be persistent, polite, and most of all, studious.

2nd: you need a trained VA Veterans Representative to act as your front man.

Then it's off to war... If your dad has a good insurance plan, the VA might not add much in the way of on-hands doctoring. But if the VA loses and your dad is recognized as being an AO victim, he will collect some disability.

My neighbor went through the VA to treat his prostate CA. His PSA score was over 14 something. I think 2.5 is the clip point... He's been good for 2 yrs, looks like they got it,, He had a couple months radiation.

any,, good luck.

My $00.0002

JJ,

How,where do you get a trained VA Representative to act as your front man? Just ask for one at the VA ?:confused:

Big Teddy :munchin

The Reaper
11-12-2009, 16:12
JJ,

How,where do you get a trained VA Representative to act as your front man? Just ask for one at the VA ?:confused:

Big Teddy :munchin


I believe that he is referring to the service reps, like the VFW, AMVETS, American Legion, etc.

TR

greenberetTFS
11-12-2009, 16:21
I believe that he is referring to the service reps, like the VFW, AMVETS, American Legion, etc.

TR

Gotcha TR. I'll see what the VFW guy here will do for me.....Thanks. ;)

Big Teddy :munchin

JJ_BPK
11-12-2009, 20:21
Gotcha TR. I'll see what the VFW guy here will do for me.....Thanks. ;)

Big Teddy :munchin

Teddy,,

TR is correct, Most every military service org has trained VA Service Officer. They help vets run the maze. Most of the time the Vet has no idea how to get help. Other times the Vet may know but the VA is being an A$$ about the claim.

Be advised all Service Officers are not the same. Some like the guys in South Florida get very good at bull-dogging the VA because they handle 1000 of cases, but not all..

I am working with a Service Officer that has an office at the VA hospital in Palm Beach. There are 4 Service Officers working there more or less full time. The Palm Beach area has one of the largest Vet populations in the state.

You will find Service Officers at the local VFW, American Legion, MOPH, but the one with experience will be at the VA Hospital. The bigger the better..

Good Luck..

Saturation
11-13-2009, 20:17
Just want to underscore JJ BPK's comment about all service officers not being the same.

For anyone navigating the system- don't get hooked into some of the organizations that market helping veterans with things like benefits- namely off site clubs/organizations or home health companies. There have been a few that promise getting benefits and then "manage" the benefits so the veteran gets screwed. Absolutely shameless.

FWIW-
Quick overview:
Every veteran is entitled up to 6 hours per week of health aide (HHA) help.
Every veteran is entitled to 30 days respite (in home or inpatient)

NO FIGHT/APPLICATIONS NEEDED for those.

Application is necessary for Aid & Attendant, Agent Orange, Service Connection, and Non Service Connected Pension.

CalicoJack
02-23-2012, 00:22
Too bad they couldn't do this before my dad died of 3 different cancers in '07. VV 2 tours, and they never treated him for agent orange exposure. Sorry to all of you who lost or are losing same. Glad they finally got it right, even if this is an old thread.

JJ_BPK
02-23-2012, 06:28
Too bad they couldn't do this before my dad died of 3 different cancers in '07. VV 2 tours, and they never treated him for agent orange exposure. Sorry to all of you who lost or are losing same. Glad they finally got it right, even if this is an old thread.

RIP to your dad..

AO is not something you can treat.. It causes various problems, mainly several forms of cancer. The cancer may or may not be treatable, often in late stages,, not.

The Pentagon and the VA were slow to acknowledge that AO could and did cause some of the problems. The current "screening" process used is a simple Q&A. "Do you have XXXX(pick from list of AO cancers)" AND "Were you in an area of VN that was sprayed??"

If the opportunity for exposure AND your medical problems match, you will get help.

Many VN vets get sick and go to their doctors and get treatments for cancers and the root cause is never investigated. Their doctor is trying to treat the cause not necessarily find the cause.

In the case of the cancers related to AO, there often is no cure. The VA can't reverse the process, nor can the best doctors in the WORLD...

BUT that can be said for many cancers. AND the cancer types related to AO can ALSO happen to people that never were exposed. They are not AO unique.

This is not a feel good story. But if VN vets and their families are informed and pro-active in their health care, and they seak treatment early, they may be able to beat the sickness caused by AO.


:mad:

Badger52
02-23-2012, 15:04
This is not a feel good story. But if VN vets and their families are informed and pro-active in their health care, and they seak treatment early, they may be able to beat the sickness caused by AO.


:mad:As long as this thread has been resurrected I'd like to reiterate BMT's advice from 1st page: NEVER QUIT!

When someone speaks of a rep, seek out your STATE's Veterans Services Office (VSO). They are usually at the county level. Not all states are resourced the same, but SOMEWHERE is that person to advocate for you.

They go to seminars & clinics to learn specifically how to do that and have connections with VA claims reps they meet at same. You don't have to nug this out alone.

Drive on.

Saturation
02-23-2012, 17:12
Know that not all Service Officers are built the same. I have had countless Veterans and families completely pissed- rightfully so- because someone was just getting by. Paid vs. employees OR Veteran vs. Non-Veteran status alone will not tell you if you've got a good one!

TIPS-
* A good service officer will not want to file a claim when it's halfway completed. They will want all the pertinent documents (with the exception of VA medical records) in hand with your application.
* A good service officer won't say- leave that question blank; we'll follow up with that later
* A good service officer will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your claim. Someone who states, 'I guarantee you'll get this' is full of it. Even if they KNOW you'll get it- think AO presumptives- they aren't going to guarantee it since they don't have ultimate control.

I have seen claims for presumptives go through within a month. NOT the norm but it shows at least a straightforward claim can move faster than molasses on a cold January day.



For the previous poster whose dad has AO presumptive---- Is your mom still alive and they were married at the time of his death? If so, she may still apply for DIC (widow's benefits).

HOLLiS
02-24-2012, 10:51
One aspect is that the VA does not report stats on cancer in RVN Vets. Maybe that is something the reunion groups might be able to collect from their members. IIRC of the nearly 3 million RVN vets about 800,000 are still alive.

Most of the people that I personally knew in my Company are already gone. Our TAR was reported as the most heaviest used area for AO in the time period I was there. (1968 Quang Tri Province)

AO at the time may have saved a lot of lives. It was not uncommon for the NVA to hit much small Marine units. One can google "Mutter's Ridge", Cam Lo etc. We also shared our TAR with the Infamous Bravo 1/9 (The Walking Dead).

The thing is interesting is that the VA does not collect or release data on cancer and the RVN vet. As another member mentioned, there is no prevention and maybe no cure. The other aspect is age. It is easy for the VA to attribute cancer etc with age related problems not AO. IMHO, it is not a simple issue for anyone, the VA or the Vet or dependents with birth defects.

I first became aware of this in 1980.

Badger52
02-24-2012, 11:31
Know that not all Service Officers are built the same. (and rest of post)Solid advice. I'm blessed because mine and 2 counties surrounding have 3 of the finest humans to ever serve in that position (vets all) but Saturation is correct. One of them replaced someone who was marking time in a little 'g' job till she finally got tired of taking naps in the chair... good riddance but, yeah, they're out there. Just another x-section of humanity, good/bad/ugly.

HOLLiS
02-07-2013, 20:30
I recently had a triple by-pass for ischemic heart disease. The Doc said I have had it for over 40 years. I had a ECG in mid October that was normal. My blood tests were normal. As it was I was lucky when I finally talked to a Cardiologist on 28 Nov. Really impressive person, my plans was to go home after the visit. In a firm and pleasant manner, she said I was not going home. It was Friday, for which she apologized for nothing would happen until Monday. Monday, I had a ultra sound and angiogram. I told the Doc, that if it was reversible by diet, that I did not want stints. She told me I was not going to get stints that I was going to be on the table tomorrow. One vain was 100% blocked, 60+% on the others, and 80 something on the third.

Moral of the story, if you have fatigue and some bloating, get a cardio stress test.

I was in Quang Tri in 1969, it was a area that Agent Orange was heavily used. Other Marines that I served with started dying off long ago, in their mid-30's.

I was lucky, if I would have waited a little longer, I probably would not be posting anything.

If you know of someone whose husband has passed away, to heart problems or cancer, let them know.

As JJ said, nothing can be done to fix the AO problem, but early discovery can mean squeezing a few more years out of one's body.

JJ_BPK
02-07-2013, 21:22
I recently had a triple by-pass for ischemic heart disease.

Glad to see you're back,, Hope all is well.. :lifter

HOLLiS
02-07-2013, 22:08
Glad to see you're back,, Hope all is well.. :lifter

Everyday is better. I seem to have more energy now that I did in October. Still recovering from the operation. I had it at the VA in Portland OR. Care was very good.