US Department of Veterans Affairs TBI Exam Failure - NBC Connecticut

US Department of Veterans Affairs TBI Exam Failure

Troubleshooters Learn Dozens of Connecticut Veterans Affected

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Wednesday, July 13, 2016)

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has identified almost 25,000 former military men and women who may have been improperly screened for traumatic brain injuries and some of those veterans come from Connecticut.

    This all came to light after a series of reports by an NBC investigative team in Minneapolis. Combat veterans from wars including Iraq and Afghanistan who may have suffered traumatic brain injuries, or TBI's, were supposed to be screened by one of four specialists. But because of a mixup at the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs...almost 25,000 veterans were examined by people not totally qualified to do them.

    Those veterans, including at least 77 from Connecticut, now have the chance to be re-screened for the presence and severity of traumatic brain injuries.

    The agency was on the hotseat about this in Washington. “I don't know whether it was because of a lack of capacity, whether that was an issue at that particular time to the extent that there weren't enough of those specialists available. I do not know the answer to that question," David McLenachen with the Department of Veterans Affairs told a Congressional panel

    Failure to diagnose veterans' TBI's could mean they didn't get proper compensation, or treatment. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says letters have gone out to those affected to let them know they can get re-examined. Veterans who are not contacted, but believe they should have been, can contact VA at 1-800-827-1000 or contact a veterans service organization.

    The Brain Injury Alliance Connecticut, which says it has helped people with brain injury prevention and recovery for three decades, tells the Troubleshooters “We encourage the VA to develop a strong plan for aggressive outreach and follow up to veterans who may have been screened inappropriately. A letter is simply not enough.”