Court Battles

Court rules VA must reimburse veterans for emergency care at non-VA centers

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U.S. service members stand beneath the U.S. flag in this Jan. 17, 2019, file photo.

A federal court has ruled against a regulation issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs that allowed the department to block reimbursements from veterans who received emergency medical care at non-VA facilities, NBC News reports.

{mosads}According to the publication, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims handed down the ruling on Monday, in which it found that the department had violated federal law by issuing a rule last year that blocked it from reimbursing veterans for emergency medical care costs at non-VA facilities. 

The ruling, which found that the department had wrongfully denied reimbursements to veterans under the 2018 rule, reportedly comes years after the department found itself in hot water for another regulation that blocked coverage benefits to veterans for emergency claims if their insurance covered a portion of the costs.

At the time in 2015, the same court also reportedly found that the department had violated the same federal law with the regulation.

Amanda Wolfe, a plaintiff in the suit who previously served in the Coast Guard, told NBC News that she was “overjoyed” by the ruling.

“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,” Wolfe said. 

“I served side by side with some of these veterans who were impacted and to think that this is going to make a difference for them is what is most important to me,” Wolfe continued. 

According to NBC News, lawyers representing the plaintiffs say that the VA may have to reimburse thousands of veterans as a result of the ruling, which could amount to billions of dollars for the department. 

“VA is aware of this decision and reviewing it,” a department spokesperson told The Hill in an email.

–This report was updated on Sept. 11 at 10:26 a.m.


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