Posts Tagged ‘Department of Veterans Affairs’

VA Partners with Entertainment Industry for Veteran Health Video

Friday, September 28th, 2012

A video produced through collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) hopes to serve as a resource for entertainers portraying veterans suffering from mental health problems.

The recently released Picture This: Veteran Mental Health Challenges and Solutions was produced as a guide for writers, actors, and others in the entertainment industry. It aims to promote more accurate portrayals of the challenges and realities of veterans with mental health issues.

The stories of several disabled veterans and their families, such as some featured in the Make the Connection public outreach campaign, are referenced in Picture This. The video offers explanations of some of the applicable terminology regarding symptoms, treatments, and the conditions themselves. It also provides some background information about veterans.

The VA hopes that this guide will provide a valuable resource for the entertainment industry when artists strive to tell stories related to veterans and mental health issues. The VA press release notes that, “Picture This supports the creative process and is organized to address the needs of those developing entertaining story lines and characters that greatly impact societal perceptions.”

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Promotes Full Claims Development to Help Disabled Veterans

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

On Tuesday, July 31, during a workshop for Veterans Service Organizations, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) emphasized the importance of the Fully Developed Claims (FDC) initiative.

The initiative is designed to encourage veterans and those that assist them with VA disability claims to strive to submit a FDC to help reduce the backlog of disability claims the VA is currently dealing with. According to CBSNews, over 500,000 claims are awaiting decisions, which can take an average of 254 days to reach.

The VA considers a veterans’ disability claim to be fully developed when it includes all available supporting evidence, especially private and federal treatment records. These records can often take the VA up to 175 days to obtain, while the veteran themselves or their veterans’ disability attorney can often gather them much faster.

During the workshop, the VA encouraged Veterans Service Organizations to promote the submission of more FDCs. Currently, only about three percent of the claims filed with the VA are FDCs, which can process in about 110 days.

Veterans Service Organizations have outreach programs across the nation, but one of the best local resources for disabled veterans is still their area veterans’ disability attorneys.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

Veterans’ Mental Health: Recruitment Helping Fill 1,900 VA Positions

Friday, June 15th, 2012

According to Veterans News Now, earlier this year Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced that the VA will be hiring 1,600 mental health clinicians and 300 support staff in an effort to improve mental health care at hospitals and clinics across the U.S. To help reach this goal, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has developed a rapid recruitment program to fill these jobs.

The VHA is targeting their efforts in the regions where the need for mental health care is the most critical as in more rural regions. Using professional recruiters, who are themselves veterans, will ensure that those hired are adequately meeting the needs of veterans. Coupled with an aggressive marketing campaign, the VA anticipates they can complete the majority of hires within six months. More complex positions will be covered by the fall of 2013.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been struggling with low staff numbers in their mental health service clinics and departments at VA hospitals. Despite new remote counseling services that the Telehealth system is providing to veterans unable to travel for care, many disabled veterans struggle alone with their anxiety and emotional disorders.

With the increased mental health professionals on staff, there will hopefully be more resources available to serve veterans who suffer from mental conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, qualifying them for veterans’ disability. The VA’s goal is not just to meet current demands but also to anticipate what future disabled veterans will need.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Surge May Cause Strain VA Disability Services

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

With the continuing troop withdrawal from the Middle East, more veterans are returning to the U.S. every day. Once a soldier is honorably discharged, they may take advantage of several veterans’ affairs services and programs, including many run by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Analysts are now predicting that with 91,000 troops still overseas and 23,000 returning to the U.S. by the end of the summer these veterans services may begin to see a strain on their resources. Even with the proposed $140 billion budget for 2013, the VA has cause for concern during the next couple years as the remainder of troops makes the transition from soldier to veteran.

Last year, the VA was responsible for specialty mental health services for 1.3 million veterans, and the overall medical costs are currently estimated at $53 billion. The VA is one of the main resources for disabled veterans who are seeking financial benefits and health care resources to manage combat-related disabilities.

Veterans who suffer from a service-connected disability should act quickly to begin their veterans’ disability benefits claim. The sooner a claim is filed with the help of a disability attorney the quicker a disabled veteran can establish their placement

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

Veterans Disability Claims: 3 Improvements, 4 Methods to Help Eliminate Backlog

Friday, May 4th, 2012

In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) created a goal of processing all new veterans’ disability claims within 125 days of filing with a 98% accuracy rate by 2015. The past 4 years, with a backlog of claims reaching over 800,000, there has been progress but a long road ahead.

The major points of the VA’s plan for claim processing improvements already in place are:

  • The claims transformation initiatives program, currently running at 4 pilot programs and expected to be put into full action at 12 additional regional offices by the end of 2012.
  • Quality Review Teams, composed of local quality review specialists who evaluate regional office employees and processes.
  • Simplified and Standardized Rating Notification Letters, giving veterans a single, simple decision letter regarding their disability claim with a summary of the evidence considered and reasoning for their decision.

The claims transformation initiatives will be using several methods to target many aspects of the disability claims process where errors and delays are most often seen. Some of the methods used include:

  • A central Intake Processing Center - sorts claim documentation in a triage system;
  • Segmented Processing Lanes – to fast-track critical claims for faster decisions;
  • Cross-Functional Teams – to better manage claims by eliminating the need for reworking claims; and
  • The Veterans Benefits Management System – to electronically access and store claimant documents.

As more regional offices begin to use the new systems and practices it’s hoped that veterans will see improvements in the lengthy wait times many experience while applying for veterans’ disability benefits. While the new systems slowly begin to help, a disabled veteran can find claim support now through the services of a veterans’ disability attorney.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

 

Veterans Disability Claim – Speeding Up the Process with Digital Documents

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

A partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration will soon help the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in their initiative to digitalize veterans’ disability benefit claims.

The backlog of disability claims has been causing continued concern for the VA since the estimates of claims pending numbered in the 800,000s the first quarter of 2012. The push for a paperless, online claims system has resulted in veterans being able to file new claims online, but did little to help the thousands of disabled veterans whose paper claims are still in queue.

By working with the National Archives, the VA hopes to use their high quality scanning system to transfer the billions of pages that make up the current claim backlog into the electronic Veterans Benefits Management System implemented earlier this year.

Having all of your disability claim paperwork in one easily accessable file is important for both organization and expedition of your claim. The better assembled and documented your claim is, the faster it can be processed by the VA so you can avoid errors that may jeopardize your benefits and result in a wrongful denial.

At LaVan & Neidenberg, P.A. our disability law firm has already taken the digital leap into paperless disability claim processing. Our customized database system has allowed our firm to develop a digital client record system that allows attorneys to access a client’s complete disability claim and supporting documents with a few clicks of their mouse.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

1,900 More VA Health Staffers to Help Care for Veterans Mental Health

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

As more soldiers return from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has seen a drastic increase in the number of veterans seeking psychiatric care for a variety of service-related mental conditions. With the VA health system lacking in psychiatric professionals, a new plan has been put into action to hire more staff to support the growing need for mental health services.

The VA announced an initiative to hire an additional 1,900 mental health staffers to add to their current workforce of more than 20,000 employees. Of the 1,900, 1,600 will be nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, while the remaining 300 will be support staff to help the backlogged mental health care programs.

At many VA hospitals and clinics, a veteran may be waiting for weeks or months for appointments with a mental health professional. Delays between sessions can stall the treatment process or leave a veteran waiting for care as their symptoms persist and worsen.

With waiting times still exceeding the normal levels at most VA facilities, it is important that veterans seek their rightful benefits as soon as possible, which is where an attorney can help.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

 

Veterans Disability Claims: New Initiative Shows Success for Processing Time and Accuracy

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

In early 2012, a transformational plan was piloted at 4 regional Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offices. With the success of this trial, the VA has selected 12 more regional offices to implement the new plan by the end of the year. If successful, the transformational plan will be put to use at the remaining 40 regional offices throughout 2013.

The basis of the transformational plan is a 3-fold system involving people, processes, and technology enhancements. There were more than 40 measures tested and evaluated for this plan with a goal of reducing the backlog of claims.

In 2009, the VA had issued a objective for their department to achieve 98% accuracy on claims and resolve each one in less than 125 days – all by the year 2015. So far their efforts are paying off with measures, such as quality review teams and simplified rating letters. Other measures in the works include a formalized process for sorting documents by priority, new electronic claims processing systems, and segmenting types of claims to be funneled to the most appropriate teams.

While the VA has been working diligently on their side to improve efficiency and accuracy, a veteran filing disability benefits for the first time can also help speed their claim along on their own by working with a veterans’ disability attorney to prepare your forms so you can avoid some of the delays or denials that come from inaccurate or incomplete information.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

Protests Delay Approval of $4 Billion Drug Contract for VA Hospitals

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

A recent Fox Business report has revealed that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is struggling to get a new contract award approved for their yearly spending for medication at VA hospitals.

The story reveals 2 small drug companies filed protests with the Government Accountability Office to argue against the VA’s decision of not including part of the contract to utilize small businesses. This has held up the start of the new contract indefinitely after previous estimates had the 8-year agreement set to start May 10.

It has been revealed that the current contract with McKesson Corp. can be extended as needed, if the protests continue to further delay.

With millions of veterans depending on VA hospitals and clinics for medications necessary to treat chronic or disabling conditions, it is important that the VA continues to provide adequate resources. Many veterans are on daily prescriptions that help manage disabilities, such as heart disease, diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other physical and mental conditions.

By applying for veterans’ disability benefits, you can make sure you are evaluated for the proper disability care you need to live a healthy life after service. Access to the VA hospitals and clinics across the nation is just one of the many benefits available to veterans with service-related illnesses and conditions.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

VA Hospitals: 20% Vacancy Rates Reported for Psychiatrists

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Recent reviews of the staffing at many hospitals and clinics supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have shown a serious shortage of psychiatrists available to attend to veterans with mental conditions.

The VA reports that there’s a 15% national vacancy rate for mental health professionals at VA run hospitals and clinics. This number is as high as 20% in some areas, such as the northwest and south. In September 2011, it was determined that 266 psychiatrists needed to be hired at VA facilities across the U.S. to meet increasing demands, yet the hiring process was taking an average of 8 months to complete.

This news is concerning to many disabled veterans who are seeking diagnosis and treatment for common mental health disorders connected to their military service. Many veterans are waiting weeks, even months for evaluation or treatment for conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is diagnosed to 10,000 veterans every 3 months.

Applying and qualifying for veterans’ disability benefits is an important step in becoming eligible for mental health treatment through the VA hospitals. A veteran who’s experiencing symptoms of a mental disorder should get in touch with a veterans’ disability attorney to learn about their right to evaluation and treatment for their condition, even if it may take some time to obtain service from a VA psychiatrist.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.