Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure
Institute of Medicine
Sub Unit: Board on the Health of Select Populations
RSO: Wedge, Roberta
Subject/Focus Area: Health and Medicine
An IOM committee will conduct a study and prepare a report on whether the Vietnam Veterans in the Blue Water Navy experienced a comparable range of exposures to herbicides and their contaminants (focus on dioxin) as the Brown Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and those on the ground in Vietnam (i.e., specifically with regard to Agent Orange exposure).
The IOM committee's report is expected to include:
1. An historical background on: the Vietnam War; Combat troops (ground troops); Brown Water Navy (includes inland waters); Blue Water Navy; VAO legislation
2. A discussion of exposures (Blue Water Navy in comparison with ground troops in Vietnam): specifically compare exposures on ground with those on ships (discuss all possible routes of exposure); and examining the range of exposure mechanisms for herbicide exposures (i.e., concentrating toxics in drinking water; air exposure possibly from drift from spraying; food; soil; skin.
3. A determination, if possible, of the comparative risks for long-term health outcomes comparing Vietnam veteran ground troops, Blue Water Navy veterans, and other "Era" veterans serving during the Vietnam War at other locations (given the possible dioxin exposure).
4. A review of studies of Blue Water Navy veterans for health outcomes (assuming there are studies specific to that cohort of veterans).
The Project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The approximate start date for the project is December 2009.
A report will be issued at the end of the project in approximately 18 months.
David Fox, an Army veteran, at home in Montana. He uses medical marijuana to help quiet the pain from neuropathy.
Vietnam Veterans Benefit From Agent Orange Rules
Vietnam veterans may be eligible for compensation and health care for certain diseases associated with Agent Orange, the defoliant sprayed to unmask enemy hiding places in the jungles throughout Vietnam.
Special health care and compensation benefits are available to the 2.6 million men and women who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, only 3,300 of whom remain in uniform today. Those discharged during that period are the largest group of veterans receiving VA health care and monthly compensation.
A small percentage of their disability claims are for illnesses that scientists have listed as being associated with Agent Orange. VA presumes that all military personnel who served in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange, and federal law presumes that certain illnesses are a result of that exposure. This "presumptive policy" simplifies the process of receiving compensation for these diseases since VA foregoes the normal requirements of proving that an illness began or was worsened during military service.
Based on clinical research, these diseases are on VA's Agent Orange list of presumptive disabilities.
In addition, monetary benefits, health care and vocational rehabilitation services are provided to Vietnam veterans' offspring with spina bifida, a congenital birth defect of the spine. Children of female veterans who served in Vietnam are authorized health care and monetary benefits for certain additional birth defects.
Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war also are eligible for a complete physical examination. If a VA physician suspects a disease might be related to Agent Orange, VA will provide free medical care. Those who participate in the examination program become part of an Agent Orange Registry and receive periodic mailings from VA about the latest Agent Orange studies and new diseases being covered under VA policies.
Vietnam veterans and their families can contact VA for more information about these benefits. For the Agent Orange Registry physical examination, call a local VA hospital or clinic listed in the government pages of your phone book. To file a compensation claim for a current disability related to Agent Orange, veterans can call 1-800-827-1000 for an application form or visit VA's Web site at: http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov.
VA CONFIRMS NEW AGENT ORANGE PRESUMPTIVE DISEASES -- NOW WHAT?
Approval of ischemic heart disease expected to clog VA's already backlogged disability benefits system.
by Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org
Yesterday we presented an article from The New York Times about the VA adding three new presumptive diseases to the Agent Orange exposure roster. That article is here ...
Now, the VA has confirmed this and issued an explanatory press release.
The diseases are: Parkinson's disease, hairy-cell leukemia and ischemic heart disease.
The addition of ischemic heart disease caught many, including myself, by surprise as it opens the door to what could be a tidal wave of claims.
Veterans' Advocate Jim Strickland has similar thoughts and offers the following:
At first glance I couldn't believe that James Dao of The New York Times had made such a mistake. And I told him so. There wasn't enough evidence for Secretary Shinseki to declare Ischemic Heart Disease as a presumptive condition to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam veterans for one thing. The medical definitions and causes of ischemic heart disease also make it impossible to single out ischemic heat disease and ignore carotid artery disease or claudication.
Ischemic heart disease is caused by conditions that affect the arteries supplying blood to the heart. Most often that condition is referred to as atherosclerosis, sometimes known as hardening of the arteries. If those arteries in the heart are diseased, so too are the arteries in the rest of the body. In other words, you don't have heart disease, you have artery disease. Even if the arteries in your heart are affected first, you're likely to have a sort of total body disease of all the major arteries.
Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common cause of ischemic heart disease. Coronary Artery Disease is caused by atherosclerosis, more commonly known as "hardening of the arteries". Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease that affects all the arteries in the body. Due to known risk factors like hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking, high cholesterol, family history, male gender and obesity, CAD is the leading cause of death in America.
CAD (or ischemic heart disease) isn't a single disease that's easy to define and separate from other closely related issues. A patient with CAD often has similar disease processes in the nearby carotid arteries. The carotids are the vessels in the neck that take fresh blood to the brain. When those vessels are obstructed by atherosclerosis, a stroke may occur. The similarity is such that strokes are sometimes called "brain attacks", similar in nature to heart attacks.
Ischemic heart disease can lead to arrhythmias...those unsynchronized heart beats that may require powerful medicines or even a pacemaker to treat. In some very deadly arrhythmias an Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (AICD) can be required to prevent sudden death syndrome.
Now that Secretary Shinseki has approved that "ischemic heart disease" is a presumptive condition for the Vietnam veteran, the mind boggles with the associated conditions that must also apply.
If you are a Vietnam veteran and have angina, shortness of breath, any arrhythmia, any vascular disease (heart, renal, carotid, leg, ED), or any other condition that might be associated with ischemic heart disease, you should begin to file and set your effective date.
If you've ever been denied a benefit for heart disease of any sort, you should begin to file and protest the earlier denial.
The kinks will be ironed out as we see what this brings to us. My bet is that there are easily tens of thousands of veterans who will be eligible for the ischemic heart disease benefit and that many more who will see associated benefits come their way.
If you thought VA was behind in processing claims before...wait a few months, you ain't seen nothing yet.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report which brought about these changes can be found here ...
http://www.vawatchdog.org/09/nf09/nfjul ... 2609-2.htm
Use our search engine for more about Agent Orange ... click here ...
TRICARE Inpatient Costs Increase for Fiscal Year 2010
September 30, 2009
TRICARE Press Release
FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Every year the costs for TRICARE-covered inpatient services are reviewed and are subject to change. For the coming fiscal year 2010, which runs from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010, the increase for some out-of-pocket costs paid by TRICARE Standard beneficiaries at civilian hospitals for inpatient care and inpatient behavioral health services is small.
For active duty family members using TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra, the daily cost share for inpatient admissions at civilian hospitals has increased from $15.65 to $16.30 per day or $25 per admission, whichever is greater. There is no charge for separately billed professional services.
The daily cost share for retirees, their families and other eligible beneficiaries using TRICARE Standard for inpatient admissions at civilian hospitals has increased from $535 to $645 per day or 25 percent of the total charge, whichever is less. Additionally, these beneficiaries pay 25 percent of the TRICARE-allowable charge for separately billed professional services.
The out-of-pocket costs for retirees, their families and other eligible beneficiaries for inpatient behavioral health services at low-volume civilian hospitals has increased from $193 to $197 per day or 25 percent of the billed charge, whichever is less.
For additional information about copayments and cost-shares for TRICARE-covered services, visit our website
http://www.military.com/news/article/tr ... -2010.html
VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment
http://www4.va.gov/healtheligibility/el ... upsAll.asp
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