Court rules VA must pay for veterans’ emergency room care, a decision that may be worth billions

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.

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.”

Monday’s ruling found the department had violated the same federal law with its revision of the reimbursement regulation. The panel saidthe new rule, issued in January 2018, actually created another obstacle for veterans by forbidding the VA from reimbursing medical expenses for emergency services at non-VA facilities.

“The Court’s decision rights a terrible injustice and its order ensures that veterans who were unjustly denied reimbursement for critical emergency treatment at non-VA facilities will finally be reimbursed,” said Bart Stichman, executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, which represented Wolfe in the case. “It is a hard-won victory for hundreds of thousands of veterans.”

Article URL : https://www.nbcnews.com/news/veterans/court-rules-va-must-pay-veterans-emergency-room-care-decision-n1052131

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