Veterans seek coverage related to Agent Orange exposure – new bill would give treatment to all who served in Vietnam

October 25, 2009

By Brian Tumulty

WASHINGTON — When Wayne Rademaker underwent prostate cancer surgery in 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs denied him coverage, even though he’d been exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam in 1969.

The water that the 60-year-old Oakfield, N.Y., resident drank and showered with aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany in the Tonkin Gulf contained traces of the toxic defoliant.

But to save money, the VA years ago stopped covering Vietnam veterans who didn’t serve on the ground.

“They changed the wording, saying if you didn’t have feet on the ground, you weren’t part of the war,” Rademaker said.

Until that policy shift, Rademaker had received a free annual VA physical to check for service-related illnesses.

Some New York lawmakers want to reverse the VA policy.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., introduced legislation this week in the Senate to cover Navy, Air Force and other personnel who came into contact with Agent Orange at sea or while loading aircraft used to deliver it.

Veterans who received the Vietnam Service Medal or the Vietnam Campaign Medal automatically would be covered.

An identical bill introduced in May in the House has 180 sponsors, including New York Reps. John Hall, D-Dover, Eric Massa, D-Corning, Mike Arcuri, D-Utica, Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, and Nita Lowey, D-Harrison.

In Elmira, Robert Bly, director and benefits adviser for the Chemung County Department of Veterans Affairs, said the effort to recognize additional veterans for their exposure to Agent Orange comes as good news to him and the local veterans who so far have been excluded from that type of health coverage.

“If there is a measure that is passed that allows them to get that presumption (of exposure), that’s very good news,” Bly said. “I have a number of veterans in that category that we’ve worked on claims for.

“Absolutely it would have an impact,” he said. “We have a lot of what are referred to as blue-water Navy veterans — those who were in the theater but can’t prove that they were boots on the ground in Vietnam.”

Gillibrand said she became aware of the issue from a veterans’ advisory committee she set up while serving as a House member representing the Hudson Valley.

“These veterans are being treated very poorly,” she said.

Passage of the legislation — which would increase the VA’s health care costs — may be difficult.

“It will be controversial, but I think we will be able to develop the support necessary for it,” Gillibrand said.

Recent scientific findings, such as a study earlier this year by the Institute of Medicine, have added to the large body of evidence that exposure to Agent Orange increases the risk of health problems such as heart disease or Parkinson’s.

New York’s junior senator also has introduced another bill, the Agent Orange Children’s Study, that would require the VA to examine the possibility that chronic illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and asthma in children can be traced to their parent’s exposure to Agent Orange.

“I have high hopes,” Rademaker said.

His cancer was covered by private insurance and is in remission, but he still worries about developing other service-related health problems.

Navy veteran Willard Hughes of Bath said in a phone interview that he’s also optimistic that Congress will eliminate the VA’s denial of Agent Orange coverage for service members who weren’t on the ground.

Hughes served aboard a destroyer, the USS Newman K. Perry, while it was stationed for six months along Vietnam’s Mekong River delta. He provided gunfire support for ground troops.

The 69-year-old BOCES retiree suffered from Type 2 diabetes and has breathing problems that he says were caused by Agent Orange in the ship’s drinking water.

“They were using Agent Orange quite heavily during that time as a defoliant,” Hughes said.

He said Australia and New Zealand have recognized the connection and cover their seamen who served in Vietnam.

jdavis92840.newsvine.com

This entry was posted in Environmental Health Threats, Health - Medical - Science, Politics, Veterans and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Veterans seek coverage related to Agent Orange exposure – new bill would give treatment to all who served in Vietnam

  1. AK1 Romeo S. Nicolas, Retired USN and a Vietnam Veteran. It was December of 2003 when I was diagnosed with PSA. The early part of 2004, I begun radiation treatment from Chesapeake General Hospital for 45 days. This was a wake up call for me to make a claim for Agent Orange.
    Since then, I received countless denial due to the missing document. But the truth, I received my transfer order to FASOTRAGRUPAC from USS Coral Sea CV 43 which was on the date I checked out (May 14, 1972) when the ships was located at YANKEE STATION, Vietnam. Now, Also. I have proof that our CO Capt. Harris make an announcement that there was a change of schedule. Instead of heading to Subic Bay Philippines, they are preparing to go to Hongkong. Now I am 75 years old, with PSA, diabetic II, consuming maintenance medicine to survive, still waiting and fighting a longest war with VA. I told my wife if I die, continue the battle with VA.

  2. Dan Davidson says:

    I also have pictures of the USS PYRO AE-24 anchored in DaNang with pictures of the barge of cluster bombs and AOE circling the ship. Dan Davidson USS PYRO 1972-73.

  3. connie mccombs says:

    please tell me where you found this information on the VA covering Ischemic stroke my husband had one in oct 2012, he also has an abdominal aneurysm , but the VA is telling him that he does not qualify for compensation because i is not ischemic heart disaese,or cornary heart disaese he also has abnormal serum enzyme levels ,he is a former Marine boots on the ground from 1968 to 1971. It breaks my heart the way the VA treats these men . I need help to help him thank you Connie McCombs

  4. Jack Hon says:

    The USS Pyro AE 24 is considered Blue Water Navy, but in fact the Pyro was sent to DaNang to pick up a barge full of cluster bombs and I have a Pyro Gram that was sent home stating we were there and signed by Commander Swan. We also have pictures of Marines going around the ship they were throwing concusion grenades to prevent any frogmen from blowing up the ship.

  5. BRUCE HAUBENSTEIN says:

    I WAS 17 YEARS OLD IN THE NAVY AND WAS STATIONED ON MIDWAY ISLAND 1971-1972. I DID NOT FINISH “A” SCHOOL SO I WAS ASSIGNED TO MIDWAY..MY DUTIES WERE BASICALLY A STRIKER/LABORER..I HANDLED ALL TYPES OF 55 GALLON DRUMS WHICH WERE DAMAGED WHILE IN SHIPMENT OR STORAGE I HAD TO TRANSFER TO A SAFE CONTAINER ..I EVEN HAVE A PICTURE OF THE STORAGE AREA..I KNOW MATERIAL WAS BEING TRANSPORTED FROM JOHNSTON ISLAND VIA MIDWAY AND GUAM AND FARTHER… I DEVELOPED LESIONS OF MY FACE AT THAT TIME AND ACCUIRED TB…TWENTY YEARS . AGO I WAS DIAGNOSED TYPE 2 DIABETES,DEGERATIVE DISC DISEASE,PERIPHIAL NEUROPATHY …IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME…AND I HAVE FILED FOR COMPENSATION. AND AFTER ALL THESE YEARS I WAS GRANTED 10 PERCENT DUE TO FACIAL SCARRING. NOTHING ELSE…THEY ARE STILL REVIEWING THE TB CLAIM ONLY…..I KNOW I WAS NOT HANDLING DRUMS OF WATER.

  6. MSgt Foster says:

    Oh, I know all about that. A recent CAVC DECISION IN FAVOR OF THE VETERAN WHO WAS STATIONED ON ANDERSEN AFB GUAM 65-66 was recently (Oct 2011) approved for AGENT ORANGE direct exposure . His BVA DENIAL was vacated by the Judge and the Waco Texas Regional VA office ordered to back date the Diabetes II and IHD claim. He was a supply specialist assigned to the 3960th Combat Support Group Supply Squadron. He did the inventory on the drums of Agent Orange herbicides in the drum storage lot that I worked in 1968 to 1978. He kept track of the inventory of the drums of AO I used. Some of those empty drums were found on Andersen AFB in 2010 by the EPA thrown over the cliffs. Thailand and Korea procedures do not apply to Guam claims. THE DEPT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS is still using the JSRRC OFFICE HAS NO RECORDS OF AO ON GUAM to deny claims even though the evidence proves otherwise. The name of the attorney who won the case is Katrina Eagle. http://www.guamagentorange.info/home for more information and documents.

  7. John Gagnier says:

    MSgt Foster

    I suggest you read

    VA compensation & pension service bulletin May 2010

    Scroll down to the section titled “New Procedures for Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in Thailand and Korea”

    There is a list of bases in Thailand where the VA is admitting that A/O or other tactical herbicides similar to A/O were used to keep vegetation down on the base perimeters. It talks about serving duty as Security Police on the Perimeter. But that is B.S. All you need to do is show that you lived or worked near the perimeter. And it has been recommended that instead of using the exact words “Agent Orange” in your claim you claim exposure to “Tactical Herbicides” I have a couple friends from Udorn who have already been approved!! GOOD LUCK!!

  8. MSgt Foster says:

    I have been fighting the VA for 25 years. I have proven without a shadow of doubt that AO was used on Guam which I was the one using it there. I have us air force documents showing my duties of handling and spraying agent orange on guam signed by US Air Force full bird colonels, majors, captains, etc. I have first exposure diseases like CHLORACNE IN MY AIR FORCE MEDICAL TREATMENT RECORDS on ANDERSEN AFB GUAM. I have US Air Force eye witnesses that saw me spraying AO herbicides. All of this and the Dept of Veterans Affairs still denies my direct exposure to AO on Guam. However, they admit my direct exposure to Agent Orange. ALL ON THE SAME VA DECISION. This was done so it would not establish precedence as they denied HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VETERANS CLAIMS THAT SERVED ON GUAM OVER THE PERIOD OF THE VIETNAM WAR . In actuallity, the use of AO herbicides began during the Korean war with the use of Agent Purple which was shipped to Guam in the 50s for use in Korea. Those in Washington DC and in the VA know the ramifications of AO use on Guam. They know that we veterans that were stationed on ANDERSEN AFB refueling B52s that bombed VIETNAM NIGHT AND DAY WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BOMBS were left out of all the hipe of AO EXPOSURE, MEDALS OF VSM / VCM AND EXPEDITIONARY MEDALS which would have made us eligible for benefits others got but NOT US. MANY VETERANS FAMILIES LOST THEIR HOMES BECAUSE THEIR HUSBANDS DIED IN THEIR 30s, 40s and 50s because of what I did on Guam with Agent Orange herbicides. I sprayed more than a millon gallons of AO, AW AND AB on Guam. Those families were denied DIC (DEPENDENCY INDEMINITY COMPENSATION) AND LOST THEIR HOMES, THEIR DIGNITY AND THEIR LIVES BECAUSE OF OUR LYING GOVERNMENT, LYING DEPT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND THEIR LYING JSRRC OFFICE THAT THEY USED TO DENY THE CLAIMS. I AM NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT THE VETERANS THAT DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THEIR ILLNESSES WERE CAUSED BY AO YEARS LATER. THE VA TOLD ME THEY DON’T HAVE TO GO OUT AND FIND THOSE FAMILIES. THIS IS SUCH AN INJUSTICE THAT I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU THE MAGNITUDE OF IT ALL. NOT TO MENTIONED THE DEFORMED CHILDREN LIKE MY OWN GRAND DAUGHTER. SHAME ON YOU AMERICA. SHAME ON YOU. !!!!!1

  9. katy says:

    Dear All,

    We have very limited understanding of the affects of Agent Orange and the VA’s handling of the matter. However we do know someone in Veterans’ Affairs in DC who has spoken out of the misapplication of monotoxicity models being used to deny liability for causation of illness. We just sent an email to them with this thread as a link. Perhaps they will come back with some advice of where to direct you.

  10. MSgt Foster says:

    WHAT IS KEY HERE IS “IN VIETNAM” WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER MILLION VETERANS DIRECTLY EXPOSED TO AO IN THAILAND, GUAM, OKINAWA, LAOS, CAMBODIA, ETC ? WHAT ABOUT US THAT WERE DIRECTLY EXPOSED WHO HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED FROM SPECIAL MEDALS (VCM, VSM, EXPEDITION, ETC) WHAT ABOUT US THAT FOUGHT THE WAR WITHOUT ANY OF THAT ? WHAT ABOUT US THAT HANDLED AND SPRAYED MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF AO ? EXCLUDED FROM NEHMER, EXCLUDED FROM EVERYTHING BUT DYING JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE . WE DROPPED MORE BOMBS THAN ANYONE. WE KILLED MORE ENEMY THAN ANYONE. WHAT ABOUT US ?If the treating doctor fills out the VA’s physicians disability form as I suggested it will have to state IHD checked and the ratings, and also whether there has been an infarction and those residual damages created in that issue as well.

    If VA disapproves a claim with a physician filling out their own established standardized form for a specific disorder then we really have reached the pinochle of VA government anarchy.

    Now with that said; I understand the VA will try anything with their unfettered power and criminal actions. I was one of the ones that worked hard to get some of these disorders “as associated.” Working on one last in depth technical paper to submit to my congressman and others including science as well as media and then I must end my decades long quest for justice for my guys and my Marines.

    With my now condition this effort is only serving to make it worse.

    My wife and many others had encouraged me to keep trying to fight the system for all of our guys and our widows with the data I have collected but even she has suggested it is time to quit. I said OK but one last very long in – depth paper on the abuse that has taken place over the last 60 years to include other era or period Veterans and civilians they have abused; as well as a Technical discussion on dioxin(s) and how the scientists I have worked with for 20 years beat into my head.

    Dioxin does not create anything directly as an antigen – it creates the damaging processes that will allow our own body to either create the condition, ignore a developing condition that without dioxin involvement would have neutralized, or both. Which means about anything in the Merck Manuel is viable for association depending on genetics as well as epignetics; as well as many other factors of chronic versus acute or combination of exposures; tumor promoter, system demodulator with no system being immune from short or especially long term over life damages and dioxin acts like an environmental hormone not just some toxic chemical that may do one or two things that can be clearly defined in dose and outcomes.

    Ironically about 60 days after IHD was official I had a heart attack which looking back my doctors said it was the second one and was in the hospital for five days. I then about two months later had all my paperwork done, including the rating guideline and submitted. What I got back from the ESD Atlanta Regional was even with that information was; “I had to demonstrate I had IHD while in service.”

    Nothing is going to change at VA until some of those folks are walked out in handcuffs.

    I then wrote back a nice cordial letter that said not only no but hell no and if they continued down this line of stalling that I was going to go straight to the Secretary through my staff officers and ask him why it is he approved a law that I clearly qualify for and yet Atl Regional demands I show I had the disease/disorder which takes decades to develop while I was in service.

    Two days later I got a call from Regional in which they do not call anyone as most of you know and said, oh no do not do that we have everything we need to make a rating decision. I doubt Shinseki knows this is going on as my former AO and his classmate told me he is a fair and just man. If he does know this is going on then he is as bad as the rest of the criminal heads we have had running this despicable organization.

    But even on a clear and pronounced presumptive disorder with clear defined paperwork, some of their own, they still tried to screw with me.

    They just keep on trying anything and everything they can for mandated budget control no matter how criminal in any other setting it would be.

    Our congress will not lift a finger to stop this total abuse of an entire segment of society to include their own Dioxin Standards Act that they passed and will not enforce with oversight.

    Anyone serving in the military for this government given any other financial alternative at all, with what most of us now know, is a fool!

    As Filner told me in person; VA is creating more problems in increased medical issues both physical stress and mental stress than the actual disease or disorder.

    He was and is correct yet they will not stop the VA omnipotent and abusive power over of an entire segment of society.

    Our mistake was not in serving because we did not know any better then but in trusting in the government. This is not the government we or at least I thought it was; maybe it never was or has been and I was just naive and too trusting to wake up to this fact.

    The bottom line:

    …I have come to the conclusion, based on our work that we have done on gulf war illnesses, based on our review of Agent Orange, that I have to be honest with our veterans. By the time we will know the scientific data, you are dead. You will either have died early or you will have died in your old age in pain, but you will not get help from the Federal Government.

    Congressman Christopher Shays in oversight in 2000 of Ranch Hand

    Kelley
    Vietnam 67-68

    Subject: RE: Ischemic stroke related to AO exposure ? Is this covered by IOM AO research ?

    Just one point of clarification to the very helpful information below:

    As correctly noted, service-connection claims for Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) are reviewed pursuant to the US District Court case of Nehmer. However, if done correctly, the effective date assigned will not be the date IHD was officially approved and added to the Agent Orange presumptive list (i.e., August 2010), but rather it will be the first time the veteran sought service-connected benefits for any medical condition and there is medical evidence in his VA file at that time reflecting IHD. But, the earliest possible effective date for any IHD claim is Sept 1985. This is an important distinction from other medical conditions added to the presumptive list (e.g., diabetes mellitus, type II) but are not part of the Nehmer review because the correct effective date assigned can translate to large amount of retro-benefits owed to the veteran.

    Unfortunately, I have seen many cases where VA has denied heart conditions that do medically fall squarely within the “umbrella term” of IHD but were called something other than “IHD.” If/when that happens, by all means, appeal the adverse decision and get a doctor to explain on paper how your heart-related medical condition is a form of IHD.

    Katrina J. Eagle
    Veterans Law Attorney
    Tel: 858-549-1561 (San Diego, CA)
    Fax: 858-549-1167
    http://www.eagleveteranslaw.com

    ——————————————————————————–

    Subject: Re: Ischemic stroke related to AO exposure ? Is this covered by IOM AO research ?

    Yes, it is presumptive and approved by VA. I would suggest you have your doctor fill out the VA physicians disability rating for IHD that correlates to the IHD disability rating guide line for met ratings and left ventricular efficiency and such within VA as you submit. That way you do not have to deal with the egg sucking dog VA but one time.

    Mine has already been approved and it is presumptive to service.

    Once approved it is then subject to a Neheimer review which might go back to the date it was officially approved not when you submitted.

    Although the “damaging process” should have been approved which effects the entire artery system and other organs as well including the brain not just IHD. Dioxin cannot be that specific and in fact dioxin does not create the IHD directly as in one minute you now have IHD and is nothing but scientific hypocrisy. But I am sure for budget control we will never ever see that fact of dioxin creating damaging processes with many many outcomes not just a single specific ICD code.

    Kelley
    Vietnam 67-68

    Subject: Ischemic stroke related to AO exposure ? Is this covered by IOM AO research ?

    katy commented on Veterans seek coverage related to Agent Orange exposure – new bill would give treatment to all who served in Vietnam.
    in response to John Gagnier:
    Please help me out here. I have read several comments that state t the VA has approved Ischemic Strokes as Agent Orange related, however, I cannot find anywhere documentation stating this. The only thing I have been able to find is that Ischemic Heart Disease has been found to be Agent Orange related, but NOT [...]
    Hi John, Sorry to hear of your ill health. We are not well versed on where to direct veterans whose deteriorating health appears that it could be a result of exposure to Agent Orange. We would suggest that you contact Jim Davis at Veterans For Change. If you read prior comments on this thread, you will see that Jim runs a Yahoo Support Group. That would seem to be a good place to locate others who may have had a similar experience to your’s and to see what possible solutions they have found. Hope you are able to find help and feel better soon

  11. My name is Romeo S. Nicolas and already make comments on how I feel about my claim for Agent Orange. I was a Vietnam Veteran who earned numerous medal from 1966 until 1972 during the Vietnam War. I was onboard the USS Kearsarge CV 33 1966 and transfer to USS Coral Sea CV 43. But on the 14th of May 1972 (Yankee Station). I received my Military Transfer Order to FASOTRAGRUPAC CA, check out the 14th of May 1972, (justified), flew by COD to Danang Airforce Base (unjustified due to missing documents), arrived in Danang the same day. I waited for 2 days and finally board the aircraft P3 Orion heading to Cubi Point (unjustified) and flew from Clark Airforce Base to California and check in to FASOTRAGRUPAC the 21st of June 1972 (justified). These whole truth of travel denied by VA because of evidence (document) missing. There was a missing documents but I made it on time to be on my new command. The fact was, I set my foot on the ground of Vietnam and good enough to be qualified for Agent Orange aside from being onboard a Carrier on 5 to 6 years of Vietnam Campaign. Yet, VA denied it so many times. Tell me, do I need to hire a lawyer to fight for my right for disability? Year 2004 to the present time was a long time. I already told my wife that if I die, continue my claim.

  12. MSgt Foster says:

    C. Comments Concerning VA’s Definition of Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) Back to Top
    (1) Lack of Reference to ICD-9-CM Medical Terminology and Codes
    One commenter expressed concern that VA regulations do not include any references to The International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification, Sixth Edition (ICD-9 CM) codes in addition to the cited definition of IHD from Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (Harrison’s Online, Chapter 237, Ischemic Heart Disease, 2008). The commenter is concerned that a VA employee reviewing a claim for disability would be “limited to the narrow and probably not extensive enough scope of representative criteria provided by the VA’s definition.”Show citation box
    VA Response: VA believes that the definition of IHD in the proposed rule and the clarifying description in the preamble to the proposed rule are actually more accommodating to appropriate ratings determinations than ICD-9-CM because the description of IHD contained in the proposed rule is not restricted to a finite list of diagnoses as would be the case if ICD-9-CM codes were employed. To this end, for purposes of establishing service connection VA interprets IHD, as referred to in the regulation, as encompassing any atherosclerotic heart disease resulting in clinically significant ischemia or requiring coronary revascularization.Show citation box
    VA views ICD-9-CM as a reference tool “used to code and classify morbidity data from the inpatient and outpatient records, physician offices, and most National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) surveys.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ICD—Classification of Diseases, Functioning, and Disability, available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/icd.htm (accessed May 13, 2010). It serves as a standardized listing of diseases designed to facilitate effective communication between medical personnel. It does not contain any descriptive definition of IHD; therefore, it does not provide any additional assistance to either VA employees or veterans in understanding what constitutes IHD or what criteria must be used in making a medical diagnosis of such.Show citation box
    Consequently, VA chose to base its definition of Ischemic Heart disease upon the definition contained in a leading medical treatise, Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, and does not believe it is necessary to revise that definition to include ICD-9-CM references. VA makes no change based on this comment.Show citation box
    (2) Exclusion of Diseases That Do Not Result in Oxygen Deficiency in the Heart
    Three commenters expressed a desire for VA to expand the definition of IHD to include diseases (such as hypertension, peripheral arterial disease, and stroke) that are potentially secondarily connected to IHD.Show citation box
    VA Response: In the preamble to the proposed rule, VA, citing Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine—a respected and universally recognized reference in the medical community, clarified and explained the definition of IHD as “an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to a portion of the myocardium; it typically occurs when there is an imbalance between myocardial oxygen supply and demand.” 75 FR 14393; See Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (Harrison’s Online, Chapter 237, Ischemic Heart Disease, 2008). This definition is limited to conditions that directly affect the myocardium. “Myocardium” is defined as “the middle muscular layer of the heart wall.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online, “Myocardium” available at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myocardium (accessed May 13, 2010). Therefore, based on the definition found in Harrison’s, IHD pertains only to conditions that directly affect the muscles of the heart. The accepted medical definition of IHD does not extend to other conditions, such as hypertension, peripheral artery disease, and stroke, that do not directly affect the muscles of the heart. As a result, VA will not include these conditions within the definition of IHD contained in this rulemaking.Show citation box
    Additionally, this definition and limitation are consistent with the definition of IHD used by the IOM in Update 2008. IOM limited its consideration of IHD studies to ICD-9-CM codes 410-414. These codes explicitly exclude such disease as hypertension, which has its own unique code (402) in ICD-9-CM. The selection of these particular ICD-9-CM codes shows that IOM chose to limit its consideration of IHD to only those diseases that affect the muscles of the heart. Hence, the definition of IHD used by IOM in Update 2008 confirms the medical soundness of VA’s definition, and makes clear that the medical evidence on which VA based its decision relates only to those conditions directly affecting the oxygen supply in the muscles of the heart and does not encompass such conditions as hypertension. Therefore, VA makes no change based on these comments.Show citation box
    Two of these commenters would also have VA allow excluded conditions to be rated as secondarily caused by IHD.Show citation box
    VA Response: The presumptive conditions addressed in this rulemaking only concern establishment of a primary service-connected condition. This rulemaking does not affect a claimant’s ability to establish secondary conditions proximately caused by a service-connected condition, including those conditions for which service connection is established presumptively. Section 3.310, title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, states that any disability which is proximately due to or the result of a service-connected disease or injury shall be service connected. This principle has not changed and there is no need to reiterate it in this rule. Therefore, VA makes no change based on these comments.Show citation box
    (3) Perceived Uncertainty Concerning the Definition of IHD
    One commenter queried “what is ischemic heart disease”?Show citation box
    VA Response: VA’s definition of IHD in the proposed rule is based upon the accepted medical premise that, as stated in the preamble, IHD is “an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to a portion of the myocardium; it typically occurs when there is an imbalance between myocardial oxygen supply and demand.” 75 FR 14393; See Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (Harrison’s Online, Chapter 237, Ischemic Heart Disease, 2008). As previously stated, VA interprets IHD, for purposes of service connection, to encompass any atherosclerotic heart disease resulting in clinically significant ischemia or requiring coronary revascularization. In the notice of proposed rulemaking, we explained that the term “ischemic heart disease” does not encompass hypertension or peripheral manifestations of arteriosclerotic heart disease, such as peripheral vascular disease or stroke. To ensure that lay readers are aware of the distinction between these diseases, we are adding a Note 3 following 38 CFR 3.309(e) to include the information stated in the notice of proposed rulemaking.Show citation box
    (4) Inclusion of Angina as a Compensable Disability
    One commenter asked whether the rule will include Prinzmetal’s Angina, and Stable and Unstable Angina in the list of compensable disabilities.Show citation box
    VA Response: Prinzmetal’s Angina, and Stable and Unstable Angina are explicitly included as forms of IHD in the list of illnesses that may be presumptively service connected due to exposure to certain herbicides. 75 FR 14393

  13. MSgt Foster says:

    Yes, it is presumptive and approved by VA. I would suggest you have your doctor fill out the VA physicians disability rating for IHD that correlates to the IHD disability rating guide line for met ratings and left ventricular efficiency and such within VA as you submit. That way you do not have to deal with the egg sucking dog VA but one time.

    Mine has already been approved and it is presumptive to service.

    Once approved it is then subject to a Neheimer review which might go back to the date it was officially approved not when you submitted.

    Although the “damaging process” should have been approved which effects the entire artery system and other organs as well including the brain not just IHD. Dioxin cannot be that specific and in fact dioxin does not create the IHD directly as in one minute you now have IHD and is nothing but scientific hypocrisy. But I am sure for budget control we will never ever see that fact of dioxin creating damaging processes with many many outcomes not just a single specific ICD code.

    Kelley
    Vietnam 67-68

  14. Richard Courtney says:

    In responce to the above, most of the Aircraft Carriers sailed ,in combat support, in the Gulf of Tonkin. there were times we could not take showers. Navy reasoning was to save water for the Cats. When able to shower it was with salt water!

    Also most of the carries were issued Naval Unit medal from the Secretary of the Navy, for combat action in support of groung forces……

  15. katy says:

    Hi John,

    Sorry to hear of your ill health. We are not well versed on where to direct veterans whose deteriorating health appears that it could be a result of exposure to Agent Orange. We would suggest that you contact Jim Davis at Veterans For Change. If you read prior comments on this thread, you will see that Jim runs a Yahoo Support Group. That would seem to be a good place to locate others who may have had a similar experience to your’s and to see what possible solutions they have found.

    Hope you are able to find help and feel better soon.

  16. John Gagnier says:

    Please help me out here. I have read several comments that state t the VA has approved Ischemic Strokes as Agent Orange related, however, I cannot find anywhere documentation stating this. The only thing I have been able to find is that Ischemic Heart Disease has been found to be Agent Orange related, but NOT STROKES! And the VA maintains that there is no relationship between Ischemic Heart Disease and Ischemic Stroke. So any help would be appreciated

    Thank you

    John Gagnier USAF 1967 – 1979

  17. katy says:

    Dear Mr. Nichols,

    We are sorry to hear of your continued ill health brought on by an environmental exposure while serving your country. We are aware of others in a similar situation. We are aware that they share information the have obtained on how to get proper VA benefits on an Internet support group site called Veterans For Change. We have already sent an email to the owner of the site, Jim Davis, regarding your situation. Mr. Davis has been able to help others in similar situations. Hopefully he can help you. It would be our suggestion that you join the support group. To join, go to: VETERANS-FOR-CHANGE-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

    Good fortune to you!

  18. My name is Romeo S. Nicolas, I retired Dec. 31, 1984 USN. I make a claim for “Agent Orange” when I was detected with PSA 2003. I started my claim year 2004 from Virginia Beach, VA. Just right after I was admitted at Chesapeake General Hospital. I keep sending my claim, including a letters from shipmate at USS Coral Sea CV 43. They keep denying my claim til now year 2011. I was under medication since then. But I don’t know where to get a copy of “Travel Voucher” to show I flew the flight deck of CV 43 by COD plane and a P3 Orion from Danang to Cubi Point, Philippines. I’m still here in the Philippines and couldn’t get help from RAO. My problems are
    PSA, Hypertension, Diabetic II , high blood pressure and arthritis. I am 72 years old now and needed help to use the VA and ease my burden financially.

  19. Janet Williams says:

    I am trying to find out if anything was ever approved for Navy Veterans. I am Power of Attorney for my brother. He served 23 years in the Navy. He was operated on for stomach cancer asnd the dotor told him that it probablly came from Agent Orange. Could anyone tell me how I could find out if anything was ever done that would include Navy Vets.

    Thank you
    Janet Williams

  20. MSgt Foster says:

    I just sent by fax a testimony for the full house veterans affairs committee hearing on May 5, 2010 for Vietnam War veterans health affects – AFTERMATH which will include HR 2254 from the SUBCOMMITTEE FOR MORTUARY AFFAIRS AND DISABILTY chairman John Hall D-NY western NY. I was told by those there that the chances were very slim for anything to pass this year because of budget constraints. It was very unlikely that Bluewater Navy, Guam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Johnston Island, etc will be included in the Agent Orange Act. They thanked me for my military service BUT COULD NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE INJUSTICE TO ALL VIETNAM WAR VETERANS IN THE THEATER OF OPERATIONS TO INCLUDE GUAM, THAILAND, BLUEWATER NAVY, CAMBODIA, LAOS, ETC. IT will be another year and more bodies in the ground for AO and MONSANTO AND DOW CHEMICAL WHO WILL SLEEP GOOD TONIGHT KNOWING THEIR DEADLY DEEDS WILL CONTINUE UNABATED KILLING VETERANS OF THE VIETNAM WAR AND THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. SGT STANTON HAS LUPUS, AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE MCTD, HEART DISEASE, PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HYPER TENSION, ANKLYLOSING SPONDIOLITIS, SPINAL STENOSIS, SCLERODERMA, DIABETES II, AND OTHER DISEASE I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER.

  21. lori says:

    my father served in vietnam 1969-1971, then i was born in 1972, multiple congenital spinal deformities, lupus (dle), and now possible ms…waiting to have scan of brain. is it possible that this is all from my father’s service? all my doctors say no, but there isn’t any of this in my family, i am the only one. now i worry that i may have spread this to my babies. can somebody please provide me with some answers?

  22. Eddie Johnny says:

    I’m considered a Viet-nam veteran. I was in the Navy and served on an aircraft carrier (CVS-33) from 6/64 until 12/64 on a West-Pacific cruise. I received the Viet-nam Service Medal for service in that country. In 1996 I was diagnosed with several illness that has been link to AGENT ORANGE.
    This admin said that it is all for the veterans, please tell what is the plan to enable the so call Blue Water Sailors to at least get medical for their illness? Many of us are ill and can not obtain treatment from the VA. I hope that veterans are treated better in the years to come.

    ejohnny us navy

  23. alvin e thomas says:

    The VA has approve Ischemic Strokes as Agent Orange related, except for the US Navy. Navy Veterans should march on Washington. This is a disgrace to American Service Men! All politicians should be contacted to reverse this congressional act. I suffer from 4-5 Ischemics and several other health Agent Orange related problems. Now the VA is lined up to fight Vietnam Veterans. I can’t believe they are listed as a Veterans Government Organization, because they are’nt!!

  24. I would strongly suggest all be it BWN or boots on the ground call your Senators and Congressmen in DC toll free at 866-272-6622 And request they do what they can to get HR-2254 out of Committee and on the floor for a vote ASAP.

    Keep in mind they will get a ton of calls so keep it short, to the point, ask they do all they can, then thank them for their time!

  25. MSGT LEROY FOSTER, RET. says:

    WHAT ABOUT SM-3 FLAGMAN HAROLD BENTLEY, JR (BONVISUTTO) OF RIPLEY, NEW YORK WHO DIED FROM AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE ABOARD THE USS PYRO AE24 AMMO SHIP WHO SERVED IN THE WATERS AND PORTS OF SOUTH VIETNAM AND SUPPLIED THE USS ORISKANY WITH AMMO

    10/28/2009…1:39 pm
    Veterans seek coverage related to Agent Orange exposure – new bill would give treatment to all who served in Vietnam
    Jump to Comments

    October 25, 2009

    By Brian Tumulty

    WASHINGTON — When Wayne Rademaker underwent prostate cancer surgery in 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs denied him coverage, even though he’d been exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam in 1969.

    The water that the 60-year-old Oakfield, N.Y., resident drank and showered with aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany in the Tonkin Gulf contained traces of the toxic defoliant.

    But to save money, the VA years ago stopped covering Vietnam veterans who didn’t serve on the ground.

    “They changed the wording, saying if you didn’t have feet on the ground, you weren’t part of the war,” Rademaker said.

    Until that policy shift, Rademaker had received a free annual VA physical to check for service-related illnesses.

    Some New York lawmakers want to reverse the VA policy.

    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., introduced legislation this week in the Senate to cover Navy, Air Force and other personnel who came into contact with Agent Orange at sea or while loading aircraft used to deliver it.

    Veterans who received the Vietnam Service Medal or the Vietnam Campaign Medal automatically would be covered.

    An identical bill introduced in May in the House has 180 sponsors, including New York Reps. John Hall, D-Dover, Eric Massa, D-Corning, Mike Arcuri, D-Utica, Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, and Nita Lowey, D-Harrison.

    In Elmira, Robert Bly, director and benefits adviser for the Chemung County Department of Veterans Affairs, said the effort to recognize additional veterans for their exposure to Agent Orange comes as good news to him and the local veterans who so far have been excluded from that type of health coverage.

    “If there is a measure that is passed that allows them to get that presumption (of exposure), that’s very good news,” Bly said. “I have a number of veterans in that category that we’ve worked on claims for.

    “Absolutely it would have an impact,” he said. “We have a lot of what are referred to as blue-water Navy veterans — those who were in the theater but can’t prove that they were boots on the ground in Vietnam.”

    Gillibrand said she became aware of the issue from a veterans’ advisory committee she set up while serving as a House member representing the Hudson Valley.

    “These veterans are being treated very poorly,” she said.

    Passage of the legislation — which would increase the VA’s health care costs — may be difficult.

    “It will be controversial, but I think we will be able to develop the support necessary for it,” Gillibrand said.

    Recent scientific findings, such as a study earlier this year by the Institute of Medicine, have added to the large body of evidence that exposure to Agent Orange increases the risk of health problems such as heart disease or Parkinson’s.

    New York’s junior senator also has introduced another bill, the Agent Orange Children’s Study, that would require the VA to examine the possibility that chronic illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and asthma in children can be traced to their parent’s exposure to Agent Orange.

    “I have high hopes,” Rademaker said.

    His cancer was covered by private insurance and is in remission, but he still worries about developing other service-related health problems.

    Navy veteran Willard Hughes of Bath said in a phone interview that he’s also optimistic that Congress will eliminate the VA’s denial of Agent Orange coverage for service members who weren’t on the ground.

    Hughes served aboard a destroyer, the USS Newman K. Perry, while it was stationed for six months along Vietnam’s Mekong River delta. He provided gunfire support for ground troops.

    The 69-year-old BOCES retiree suffered from Type 2 diabetes and has breathing problems that he says were caused by Agent Orange in the ship’s drinking water.

    “They were using Agent Orange quite heavily during that time as a defoliant,” Hughes said.

    He said Australia and New Zealand have recognized the connection and cover their seamen who served in Vietnam.

    LerRoy G. Foster, MSgt, USAF, Ret
    Life Member of the DAV of New York State
    Member of the American Legion Post 777, Celeron, NY
    Member of the Vietnam Veterans of America
    70% Service Connected 100% Unemployable
    Totally and Permanently Disabled from Agent Orange on Guam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s