VA pilot program discussed by VSOs

Ian de Planque, deputy director of The American Legion Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division, recently met with members of Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America to discuss a potential pilot program proposed by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in pending legislation in that committee. The pilot program proposes an alternate method of rating veterans with musculoskeletal conditions. The alternative method is more in line with methods used by the Social Security Administration and workman’s compensation programs in an evaluation based on pain and loss of functions, as opposed to the current VA system which is largely based on loss of range of motion of the extremities.

Because the vast majority of veterans service organizations have voiced concerns about this pilot program, this meeting served as an attempt to isolate common complaints to work with the members of the Senate committee in the hopes that any fundamental flaws could be adjusted before such a program went forward. Common concerns include the fact that a pilot would have a direct impact on veterans and could potentially create separate streams of ratings that may not be equitable, as well as concerns about the rating criteria and whether it would represent a positive change for veterans or simply a change in techniques that would not result in an overall improvement of the system.