Andrea Villari/Stars and Stripes
Andrea Villari/Stars and Stripes

Lawmakers urge VA to fix rejected emergency care claims that wrongly cost vets $53 million

by Nikki Wentling
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — Thirty-five members of Congress on Monday urged the Department of Veterans Affairs secretary to redo medical claims for thousands of veterans who were stuck with bills that the VA should’ve paid.

The group of lawmakers, which included Republicans and Democrats, wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie following the release of what they described as a “damning report” last week from the VA Office of Inspector General. The IG discovered the VA wrongfully rejected thousands of emergency-care claims during a five-month period in 2017, affecting an estimated 17,400 veterans who were stuck with varying medical bills that totaled $53.3 million.

“Facing a medical emergency can be stressful for any patient; however, the financial toll on veterans when VA erroneously denies or rejects payment can also be devastating,” the lawmakers wrote. “Nonpayment can bankrupt and destroy veterans’ credit histories. These administrative errors can remain with veterans for the rest of their lives.”

They asked Wilkie for a thorough explanation of how the VA plans to follow through with 11 recommendations made in the IG report. They also asked Wilkie to communicate with veterans whose claims were inappropriately rejected and re-adjudicate the claims the agency should’ve paid.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.594126

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