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Missing Medical Records that would Support for Veterans disability claim

This article was written by Ed Lawton, forwarded by John Youmans.

As if we haven't read enough about the needs of the combat wounded in hospitals; the lack of medical care of the active duty troops at Ft. Stewart and Ft. Knox; Veterans Administration (VA) funding shortfalls, and countless other adverse issues relating to veterans, military retirees and military widows, there now appears some reliable evidence indicating that Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) are being prohibited from providing sustained assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan wounded combat veterans, pending medical discharges and subsequent admission into the VA medical system.

Recent news stories cause me this concern:

a. On Friday, Nov. 7th, PBS host Bill Moyers interviewed combat veterans who experienced months of delays in medical care following their return to the USA, aggravated by new restrictions on VSOs prohibiting them from routinely communicating with hospitalized personnel in military treatment facilities (MTF).

b. An article, published November 13th, at StarNewsOnLine.com, headlined, "Wounded veterans deserve better," specifically details circumstances similar to what is mentioned above, only it identifies the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), an 83 year old, 1932 congressionally chartered VSO, and its' inability to help a combat wounded soldier, apparently due to the recent implementation of HIPPA (and perhaps, other as yet undisclosed issues).

c. On December 18th, CBS News correspondent David Martin quoted David Gorman, executive director of the Disabled American Veterans as stating:

"I don't know if it's a clouded secret about who's coming back, who's there, the nature of their disabilities, the nature of their wounds or not but there is not the kind of unfettered access that we used to have at Walter Reed," says Gorman. Gorman continues, "We can't do our job which means in many cases ... that there's just an outright denial of benefits coming to these young men and women because they simply don't know about it."

I'm overwhelmed VSO officials and VSO National Service Officers (NSO), trained and accredited by the Veterans Administration (VA) to assist active duty personnel in their transition from DOD to VA health care, are challenged and essentially prohibited, from assisting wounded combat veterans pending medical discharge and transition into civilian, VA Health Programs! If the government places its trust in VSO/NSOs to help healthy men and women who can walk into an office and request assistance, why aren't these same VSO/NSOs allowed to assist hospitalized and wounded, combat troops?

For decades, VSOs such as the DAV, VFW, the American Legion and countless others, have existed solely to promulgate programs and assistance for servicemen and women, relocating into the civilian world after serving in combat or peace time, whether in the continental United States or overseas. Trained NSOs, usually veterans themselves, assisted disabled veterans unfamiliar with the complexities of claims processing and the specific, technical identification of personal disabling injuries, often dating back for years.

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