VA changing disability evaluations for mental health and other critical conditions.
TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Some Central Texas veterans are going to be getting a much-needed boost in healthcare thanks to the VA.
The VA has decided to change its disability ratings criteria for mental health conditions, sleep apnea and tinnitus, or severe ringing of the ears. This is part of a major overhaul of the review process to ensure that compensation matches veterans’ medical conditions and needs.
The VA adds they will be abolishing the 0% disability rating for any service-connected mental health diagnosis in favor of a 10% minimum, a move that Olumayowa Amakina says has been a long time coming.
“What we’re doing now is a similar wholesale revision to the rating schedule that we call VA rating schedule modernization,” he said.
“For that reason, we’ve actually been making updates to our ratings schedule since 2017. It’s only now gotten to the point where we’re revising the criteria related to mental health conditions.”
Amy Mersiovsky, director of nursing with Texas A&M Central Texas, says she was thrilled to hear this news as the spouse and mother of veterans. Especially considering how so many veterans have lost their lives to suicide, she believes this could help aid veterans much sooner before its too late.
“We lost a good friend of the family who served with my sons to suicide,” she said.
“He deployed with my sons to Iraq a few times. I think some better access and a little quicker intervention could’ve saved him. He has two little boys that’re gonna grow up without their dad. He was a wonderful young man and we miss him. I think changing the ratings could decrease the triage level to get them better services real quickly.”
Providing quality care sooner and more efficiently, something that Erica Scabella with the VA says will save lives and will always be the greatest mission.
“We are committed to ensuring our veterans receive the world class care and benefits that they’ve earned and we’re doing that timely,” she said.
“So, whether they pursue service connection or not, we’re here to provide them with health, healthcare and improvements.”
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