Skip to comments.VA whistleblower: Veterans poisoned at Camp Lejeune need Trump's help getting care [op-ed]
Posted on 02/27/2018 7:16:29 AM PST by huldah1776
Several months ago, I contacted the White House to recommend that the Trump administration appoint a Czar for Veterans Affairs to resolve concerns relating to Military Toxic Exposure. Nearly 900,000 Marine Corps veterans were poisoned by contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Over the past year, I have been contacted by a number of these veterans who expressed concerns about delayed access to healthcare and disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as being denied tort claim benefits from the Department of Defense.
Although VA leaders have expanded online communication relating to Camp Lejeune benefits, the agency has done nothing to resolve previous concerns by veterans regarding the medical credentials of the Subject Matter Experts who routinely deny Camp Lejeune disability claims filed by veterans with presumptions.
Internal VA documents reveal that 400,000 of the veterans who served at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 are already deceased. Due to the nature of the contamination at Camp Lejeune, the 500,000 veterans that are living are likely to have a higher mortality rate than the general population.
The majority of deceased or living Camp Lejeune veterans and their family members have not received any compensation for the health effects from being exposed to contaminants at Camp Lejeune or for the loss of their children who were miscarried as a result of the toxic water on the base.
Less than 20 percent of family member insurance claims have been approved by VA. The agency has only approved 463 of the 2,519 family member claims filed between 2014 and 2017.
If the U.S. government can spend $15 billion to clean up bases, it can allocate more than $2 billion over five years to provide benefits for veterans suffering from toxic military exposures.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...
The article does include a plan. I thought this was being taken care of. Fake news, I guess.
Links to articles next.
Years later, Marine families bear scars of poisoning at Camp Lejeune
Veterans Administration Whistleblowers, Part 1 The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on the increasing number of whistle-blower complaints within the Veterans Health Administration. Witnesses spoke about retaliation they had suffered.
I was wondering if the water, flushed or sent out to sea, was carried up the coast. Anyway, TODAY is a meeting
from VA website:
Exposure to Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune
Latest update: The Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel meeting will be held on February 27, 2018. Please check the ATSDR Camp Lejeune webpage for more information.
Camp Lejeune presumptive diseases
As part of VAs ongoing commitment to provide quality care to Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs has established a presumption of service connection for eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Active duty, reserve, and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, N.C. for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, may be eligible for disability benefits. The presumption rule was published on January 13, 2017, and became effective March 14, 2017.
The presumptive diseases are [no mention of infertility and miscarriages]:
Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and
hmmm. meeting started at 9:30am est.
I just tweeted him asking him to simply order that all LeJuene water claims be approved, I told him that I have stage four cancer and will be 74 next month, I asked him to order the VA to approve all claims nd stop waiting for us to die.
The major contaminates were from 1) an off base dry cleaning company (PCE) 2) on base equipment degreaser (TCE) 3) underground storage tanks leaks (benzene). Multiple other contaminates.
The contamination was known at the time but hidden by base officials.
“”I just tweeted him asking him to simply order that all LeJuene water claims be approved, I told him that I have stage four cancer and will be 74 next month, I asked him to order the VA to approve all claims nd stop waiting for us to die.””
You have my heartfelt sympathy. I spent one hour on the phone yesterday just trying to get one simple question answered at the VA. I lost track of who I was talking to as they all transferred me to so many different people and none of them were the right person I needed to talk to.
I must have talked to at least 7 people. I had written down the time I started the call and noted when I finished. I could not believe it! The last person I talked to understood my question and said she’d set up a 3 way conference call with the person who could help me if I was agreeable. I told her to go ahead. After trying three times, she was as exasperated as I was and expressed her dismay at her inability to get through to the person SHE needed to talk to. I told her that I had told my husband if we’d counted on any of the personnel I talked to go to war for us, we would have lost right out of the starting gate. She howled with laughter and said she agreed. She just kept saying, “I don’t believe it. I don’t believe I can’t get through.”
Well, I didn’t have any trouble GETTING THROUGH but it was never to the right person UNTIL I got her and she was a peach.
SO - that’s a long way around to tell you and everyone else involved in this Camp Lejeune mess, to not give up. The issue is handled separately on nearly everything I read about VA benefits so it’s a well known problem.. The president needs to order some heads to roll... I can’t believe what the veterans who are dealing with the VA medical care must be going through.
Good luck to all of you, thank you for serving our country and take the fight to the president!!
I was at Lejeune for an MOS school, but I think I dodged the bullet. I was only there for a couple of months. 56 now. No Cancer, just heart issues.
Unfortunately I think the swamp creature feeds off the water from Camp Lejeune. If they allow Vets to go to other private docs, why not clear this up with allowing y’all to get the best care and outsource. Shiites, they have contractors working on the front now so why not use private sources for healthcare!
I hope someone can get your case fast-tracked. Have to go, my monitor is getting really blurry and my Repairman needs to hear me.
I was stationed at Lejeune for 3 years. Never had any issues since. I did receive several health surveys in the last 20 years though.
Thank you, I had hoped that with Donald, who I completely support, that ALL of the VA would start caring about us.
I’m sure that’s a well shared feeling and sentiment.
I talked to so many people yesterday and each had a different solution or department that I should talk to. Rather than give me those numbers, they just kept transferring me. At one point I was given 5 EXTENSIONS at one number but didn’t receive any answers at those either. Every time someone said, “I’ll transfer you to the right place”, I just groaned!
Simple, simple really - my husband signed up last year for VA healthcare (a Korean War vet) to get the ball rolling for possible future care but was not directed to do anything else after applying. He has 3 specialists plus a Primary Care physician and we weren’t seeking medical care...
For now, I’m interested in help caring for him at home; (Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care) and met that brick wall. “He’s not eligible”...”He’s not enrolled”....”He needs a Primary Care doctor to certify”...”He needs to go to Atlanta”...and on and on it went. I finally discovered that their terms “eligibility”, “enrolled”, “primary care doctor” are totally different from the definitions the REST of us use. I said, “He has a primary care doctor” BUT they MEANT a VA Primary Care doctor. I asked if he could do all he needed to do at the nearest VA Clinic and one gal shouted, “I keep telling you, he has to go to Atlanta.”
They don’t realize that they are talking to people who are not familiar with their language as they ALL asked:
Last name and last four! HUH? By the 2nd time it was said, I knew they meant - last four digits of the SS number!
The last gal who did help - at least pointed me in the right direction tho’ I still can’t get through to that number - said it meant that after applying he never completed the process of getting an appointment at a VA clinic..which meant enrollment and eligibility would be completed then. I was amazed that there were no directions anywhere to do so. He received an acceptance letter from the VA along with the Benefits Handbook which has his name printed in it with his priority # and I’m told, “he’s not eligible?”
She was dumbfounded when I said I was told we would have to get my husband to Atlanta and said it’s right on one of the VA websites - ANY COMMUNITY BASED OUTPATIENT CLINICS...we went over the website together before we got off the phone.
So I guess I try to get the info on getting him “eligible” or “enrolled” and go from there.
Sorry to babble so much but in addition to the problems at their hospitals etc., they also truly need to get down to the roots of their call centers and have a wholesale or even individual ORIENTATION for the people answering the phones. I assume they are not volunteers off the street but actually on the VA payroll!
Thanks for putting up with a nearly rabid old woman!
Keep copies of all your records, every scrap of paper they give you and log all phone calls. If you can record them so much the better.
The VA is not there to help you. They are there to entangle you in a morass of paperwork until you give up and go away.
Unless you have insurance they can bill. Then they will still entangle you in the morass of paperwork but will allow you a few nuggets of care occasionally that they will charge your insurance top dollar for.
How many of those base officials who knew and hid it, now live on a fully-taxpayer funded retirement with full benefits?
They ought to be in prison...
None of the information about cause of poisoning was in the article or any of the attached articles. I had to do a search and read the one from Wikipedia which did not go into detail about the guilty parties. I can assume your comments are spot on.
Your remarks are welcome. I’ve learned in life to document everything and I always have a stack of scratch paper nearby to make notes on. I shouldn’t have relied on that yesterday. I should have started with a tablet.
We don’t want to enter my husband into the VA hospital/doctor system; just what he needs to do to COMPLETE what they call eligibility so we can get to the help in the home. He wouldn’t be going to any of their facilities for care when he gets what he needs from the specialists and the facilities we can get to in 10 minutes from our home. He surely wouldn’t trade that for traveling to VA facilities. I fully understand those who need the VA for service connected disabilities etc., and boy! do they ever have my sympathy after yesterday’s experience. If an office supposedly to help the veteran can be that messed up, how messed up can a hospital or doctor’s office be?
One of the uninformed women steering me in the wrong direction even told me that one of the facilities that I said my son in law went to, to complete paperwork/physical etc., not 15 minutes from home - was a mental patient facility. When I told that to the gal who was so helpful, she shouted “WHAT?”
I’m confused about your reference to insurance companies being billed. The VA bills a persons insurance if they have it? What would that be? If they have private insurance through an employer perhaps or? Certainly not Medicare.
Thank you for replying to my rant and know that my sympathies lie with all of you having to go through this morass of a system. It sure needs special attention in DC - MORE than it’s getting, I would say.
And a SPECIAL thank you for going to serve your country. You deserve better and more than lip service from DC...
How about calling and writing the VA committees in the senate and house? Get them to know you. Call every day?
I have been using the VA exclusively for 15 years, the docs and nurses are great the bean pushers all need a good horsewhipping, but remember this, if he gets turned down, demand to see the medical credentials of the bean counter that gives you a hard time.
My doc is a retired navy doc,
God bless and good luck, give that old goat, Korea was ten eyars before me, a hug for my wife and I.
Thank you for your reply and your kind words.
I had some success this morning. First call to find out how to FINALIZE the process of my husband’s enrollment and with everything I thought I’d need in front of me from the various VA websites, it was verified I was on the right track, he was in the system and one more phone call to a local clinic and we’d be off and running - well, at least OFF... Got an appointment made for April 5 with just that next call - local 15 minutes down the road and we’re in business. So much for being told he wasn’t in the system, he had to go to Atlanta, he had to go to two different places to complete the process blah blah blah!
You are right about the bean pushers...A recording does say the calls can be monitored but I don’t believe they are or this nonsense would END... Monitored by who/what is the question! I know there are more serious matters for veterans than we are facing and I appreciate everyone listening to me rant/rave just to complete one part of the process.
SUCCESS! One small step for a veteran....huge step for wife of said veteran. I asked WHY I was doing all the grunt work and I didn’t get anything but a glare! I know he would have thrown the phone through a window.
Now I believe this thread was started because of the Camp Lejeune mess. My husband told me to read a story in the last American Legion magazine that arrived yesterday. It’s about Fort McClellan’s Toxic Legacy - Alabama..in case it’s not known where...I didn’t know where it was. Pretty doggone tragic. It’s worth reading if you get the magazine. Perhaps it’s online, I don’t know.
There is a NY congressman - US Rep Paul Tonko (D) who has introduced bills 4 times since 2010 to get started on
the process of getting the problem taken care of and each time it has died. It has been referred to the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health and it’s amazing that action hasn’t been taken on it. They need to set up a health registry to tie the veterans health problems into the base and surrounding areas. Sounds pretty much like Love Canal all over again but this time with our veterans and their families health compromised.
The VA has declined every claim submitted. The base no longer exists, Monsanto settled a lawsuit for $700 million but only for civilians who lived in neighborhoods closest to the manufacturing plant. No veterans were included.
They expect the problems to be carried on through many more generations from parents to children to grandchildren/great grandchildren etc.
This could use President Trump’s persuasive techniques also!! Camp Lejeune and Fort McClellan - how many more in the country that have produced the same problems!
I was hoping I wasn’t going to be the sole person making that point.
NC’s 3rd Congressional District has historically been Dem until 1995...ironically with Republican Senators.
There are no easy answers to a problem I didn’t know existed until reading this op-ed. I didn’t research all major drinking water scandals in the US for my book, but I’m curious why this one didn’t turn up in my research.
Somebody beyond the VA was obviously pulling the strings to control this problem (I’m thinking Jesse Helms).
This is pertinent, but at a glance no more revealing: A Trust Betrayed by Mike Magner (2014)
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