VA Compensation will be Paid for Medical Notification Error

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has promised to compensate veterans who were mistakenly notified that they have Lou Gehrig’s disease due to a VA medical mistake acknowledged earlier this week.

The VA has identified more than 600 veterans who incorrectly received notifications advising them of benefits available to spouses and children of veterans who contracted Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, which is a fatal condition.

Many of the veterans believed these letters were intended to notify them that they had the condition and that they were dying. In addition to the emotional distress and anguish experienced by the veterans and their families, many went to get medical testing.

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The VA has said that it will compensate veterans for any unnecessary medical expenses incurred as a consequence of the false notification letters. Some veterans have reported racking up about $3,000 in medical testing bills as a result of the scare.

Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is named for the famous baseball player who died from ALS, attacks nerve cells that control voluntary muscles and most victims have a prognosis of five years or less.

In addition to the promised VA compensation, the agency has also indicated they will establish a new screening process for future notification letters. It also plans to call every veteran who received the letters by mistake, make sure they know that they have not been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and apologize for the error.

Early last week, the VA said it had only been notified by 10 veterans who received the letters in error, but the National Gulf War Resource Center estimates that at least 1,200 veterans were mistakenly notified, based on the number of panicked veterans from at least a dozen states that contacted the group.

On Thursday, the VA indicated that more than 600 veterans were erroneously sent the information due to a coding error.


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