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I haven't seen the Federal Register yet, but thisnews is in ... ~Wings

Shinseki steps up

By Bruce Coulter

Tue Oct 20, 2009, 04:24 PM EDT

http://www.wickedlocal.com/burlington/news...inseki-steps-up

-snip-

Burlington - Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki went deep for veterans last week when he granted immediate service-connection to Vietnam veterans suffering from Parkinson’s disease, ischemic heart disease and hairy-cell leukemia as a result of exposure to Agent Orange (AO), an herbicide, between January 1965 and April 1970.

Some 2.5 million Vietnam veterans are believed to have been exposed to the herbicide.

-snip-

While the announcement brought joy to a great many Vietnam veterans, some see problems down the road.

Larry Scott, founder of the Web site, VA Watchdog and a long-time veteran’s advocate, wrote in an e-mail that Shinseki’s decision would clog an already backed-up claims system “beyond belief.”

On his Web site, Scott writes: “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.”

Jim Strickland, another veteran’s advocate, whose work can be found on VA Watchdog and The Veteran’s Voice (www.veteransvoice.com), is also troubled with what will be an escalating backlog, but urged Vietnam veterans to file claims for “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,” he wrote. But Strickland offered this warning: “If you thought VA was behind in processing claims before ... wait a few months, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Despite the warnings, some people were overjoyed with Shinseki’s decision.

A Georgia woman, whose name I won’t use, spoke to me several months ago after I wrote about the link between AO and Parkinson’s. Her husband, a Vietnam veteran, suffers from Parkinson’s and was concerned the link between AO and the disease would not provide enough evidence to make the VA’s leadership change course on service-connection. Needless to say, she was thrilled when I spoke with her last week. But she still has to convince her husband to file a claim, who despite being exposed to AO and taking shrapnel near his eye while in Vietnam, never filed a claim with the VA and was never awarded a Purple Heart.

Let’s hope this is enough to get the ball rolling for him and thousands of other Vietnam veterans. Bruce Coulter is a retired, disabled veteran. He may be reached at 978-371-5775, or by e-mail at bcoulter@cnc.com

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When the VA does the right thing and than someone who is a Veterans Advocate like Larry moan that it will clog the system I see red.As one Veteran who has been denied because it would cause VA to have to treat others the same it relly makes me angry.

If the VA would do the right thing it would work itself out.

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