VA tries to clear backlog of exams
Hefner VA Medical Center
The W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, as part of the VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network, will tackle the growing backlog of compensation and pension exams during three one-week sessions that began this week.
VA Medical Centers in North Carolina, Virginia and southern West Virginia have dedicated up to 80 percent of their primary care appointment schedules March 7-11, April 11-15 and May 9-13 to accomplish the task.
Like many areas of the country, VA medical centers throughout the region have experienced a high volume of requests for compensation and pension exams. These exams are used to determine levels of disability and compensation due to medical conditions associated with military service. The goal is to complete these exams within 30 days from the date Veterans Health Administration receives the exam request.
“Our charge is service to veterans and we intend to meet our commitment with all of the resources we have,” said VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network Director Daniel F. Hoffmann.
“My intention is to continue the effort until the number of veterans waiting more than 30 days for an exam is zero.”
Each medical center in the network is ensuring that extra trained and certified staff will be on hand to conduct the examinations. Veterans awaiting compensation and pension exams are being contacted to schedule appointments.
There are many contributing factors for the backlog, including the recent approval of the new presumptive conditions tied to Agent Orange. This ruling alone enabled more than 200,000 veterans nationwide to open new claims and required the VA to readjudicate previously denied claims for ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, hairy cell or other B-cell leukemias.
The Mid-Atlantic region, and North Carolina in particular, has experienced sustained and dramatic veteran population growth often tied to the fact that this region is home to some of America’s largest military installations.
Completed exams will be forwarded to the appropriate Veterans Benefits Administration regional office, where specialists will make determinations and mail notifications to the veterans. Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices are in Roanoke, Va., Winston-Salem and Huntington, W.Va.
Veterans or family members with questions about claims should call 1-800-827-1000, or log on to www.va.gov.
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