Court rules VA must pay for veterans' emergency room care, a decision that may be worth billions
By Courtney Kube, Mosheh Gains and Adiel Kaplan
September 10, 2019
"All of this is unacceptable," said an appeals court in a decision that plaintiffs' attorneys say may yield up to $6.5 billion for veterans.
A doctor checks a patients prosthetic arm at the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Diego, Calif., in 2007. Charles Ommanney / Getty Images file
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.
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.
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