Have a great Independence Day weekend and holiday. Fly your flag with pride! Remember those who currently serve and those who have gone before us to secure and maintain our freedom. Celebrate well and safely.
The Veterans Assistance Commission (VAC) monthly meeting has been rescheduled to 6 p.m. July 24, instead of July 17. The meeting will be at the VAC Office at 200 W. Front St., Bloomington.
Q: I am a veteran and I am appalled at the high suicide rate among active-duty service members and veterans of military service. Where can I get information locally about the suicide crisis concerning service members and veterans?
A: The Illinois State University School of Social Work is hosting a one-day program, "The Suicide Crisis in America’s Military and Veterans," on July 21 at the ISU Alumni Center on Main Street in Normal. This program will scrutinize the ethics of suicide assessments and interventions within the military culture, ethical considerations when treating suicidal patients, recent research and evidence-based treatment modalities for working with suicidal patients, and identifying high-risk factors and intervention strategies.
Brad Singer, LCSW, clinic chief for the embedded behavioral health team from Fort Stewart, Ga., will be the primary presenter. He has spent the last six years researching suicide-specific interventions with active-duty soldiers, and training military and VA providers in evidence-based treatment methods.
Registration will be 8 to 8:30 a.m., with the workshop ending at 4:30 p.m. Cost is $110 for attendees desiring CEUs and $60 for everyone else.
Q: I am a veteran and filed a claim for service-connected disability compensation for a pulmonary disease called sarcoidosis. My claim was denied because the VA compensation and pension examination indicated that I did not have sarcoidosis but instead had tuberculosis. The denial was made because I did not have tuberculosis listed in my claim, even though my symptoms were consistent with both sarcoidosis and tuberculosis. I filed my claim in good faith. I have heard of other cases that are similar. This does not seem fair, since I believe that my tuberculosis was also caused by my military service.
A: You are right about other similar wrong diagnoses listed in a claim being the basis of the claim poorly handled by the VA. In the VA appeals court ruling Clemons v. Shinseki, the scope of a claim was determined by all the information and evidence received by the VA, not just by the way a claimant pleaded his claim. The point of the ruling was that veterans are not experts in medical science; they are capable of describing the symptoms of their conditions, but are not competent to diagnose the conditions themselves. In practical terms, the scope of the claim is determined by the body part alleged in the VA claim form 21-1438, and by the medical evidence received in connection with the claim. After the correct diagnosis of the medical condition based on the “body part” relationship to the claim, then it becomes a simple matter of whether the final medical condition is service-related.
VFW Post 454 in Bloomington will host an Independence Day kick-off Monday at the Post home on Lincoln Avenue, Bloomington. Food service begins at 6 p.m. with music by One Non Blonde. This is a major fundraiser for VFW Post 454 and a great way to kick-off your Independence Day celebration.