Court: VA wrongly withheld money from vets, must reimburse them for emergency care costs

by Nikki Wentling
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — A federal court ruled Tuesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs wrongly denied reimbursements for some veterans who received emergency medical treatment at non-VA facilities — a ruling that could cost the agency billions of dollars.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims approved the case, Wolfe v. Wilkie, as a class action and ordered the VA to reimburse the affected veterans. Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case, citing past VA estimates, said the agency would be responsible for paying anywhere between $1.8 billion and $6.5 billion to hundreds of thousands of veterans.

“All of this is unacceptable,” wrote Judge William S. Greenberg, who authored the opinion of the three-judge panel. “Such an extraordinary situation demands extraordinary relief.”

A VA spokesman said Wednesday that the agency “is aware of this decision and reviewing it.”

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