Veterans' emergency room care will now be paid!
WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs must reimburse veterans for emergency medical care at non-VA facilities, a federal appeals court ruled Monday — a decision that could be worth billions of dollars to veterans according to nbcnews.com.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims said the VA has been wrongfully denying reimbursement to veterans who sought emergency medical care at non-VA facilities, and struck down an internal VA regulation that blocked those payments.
"All of this is unacceptable," said the ruling, which ordered the VA secretary to "readjudicate these reimbursement claims."
Plaintiffs' lawyers say that based on past estimates by the VA, the department is now on the hook for between $1.8 billion and $6.5 billion in reimbursements to hundreds of thousands of veterans who have filed or will file claims between 2016 and 2025.
Former Coast Guardsman Amanda Wolfe, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told NBC News on Tuesday, "I’m just overjoyed. I think it means change, it means that veterans don’t have to be afraid of receiving care, emergency care. They can have that sense of security that sense of peace knowing they are covered if they have emergency care."
“I served side by side with some of these veterans who were impacted and to think that this is going to make a difference for them is what is most important to me."
August report found that in just one recent six-month period, the VA left roughly 17,400 veterans to pay out-of-pocket for $53 million in emergency medical treatment the government should have covered.