Veteranclaims’s Blog

July 16, 2009

Endoscopy VA Letters Offer Two Options

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 9:35 pm

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VA Letters Give Vets Two Options

Patients Can File Federal Tort Claim, Apply For Monthly VA Payments

POSTED: 4:41 pm CDT July 15, 2009
UPDATED: 7:38 pm CDT July 15, 2009
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — More letters are being sent to veterans who may have had questionable colonoscopy procedures at the Murfreesboro VA Hospital. But this time, the letters are linked to money.

One attorney warns recipients might want to read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.
The letters offer veterans who have tested positive for HIV and hepatitis B or C after colonoscopy procedures at the Murfreesboro VA options to seek payment, but by filing out these forms, patients could be placing limits on future options.
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Tony Mayo of Chattanooga served three years in the U.S. Army in the early 1970s. He said he always had a clean bill of health, until recently.Mayo had a colonoscopy three years ago at the Alvin York Medical Center in Murfreesboro.
In February, he was informed he’d tested positive for hepatitis C.
“Last week, they changed it to hepatitis B, chronic,” said Mayo.The problem left Mayo and his wife confused and worried.
“We’ve got 13 grandkids,” said Mayo’s wife, Sandra. “It worries me that maybe one of them could catch it.”The Mayos recently received a letter, which they plan to send to their attorney Mike Shepard for advice.
“I think it’s premature for the veterans to be asked to settle at this point,” said Shepard. “You have to be careful, understanding exactly what’s happened to you before you start filing claims.The letter starts with an apology but quickly gets down to business, giving veterans two options: They can file a federal tort claim or apply for monthly payments from the VA.”Just because you get these forms have been sent out doesn’t mean there’s going to be compensation for the veterans,” Shepard said.
Shephard said both options can be filed for, but both cannot be received. Opting to receive the monthly benefits will offset any lump sum payment received from the tort claim act.
Veterans will have two years to file a federal tort claims act.
Shepard advises letter recipients refrain from filing because all the facts aren’t yet in.
“Don’t jump the gun here,” he said. “Wait until the investigation is complete. Wait ’til Congress is done with their investigation.
Another issue to think about is if veterans file now and receive compensation, some of these infections lay dormant for years, so it could be three years before the patient realizes he or she has full-blown HIV but has already settled with the VA.
Last week, the VA announced that any veteran affected will receive completely free treatment from the VA.

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