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Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald has granted equitable relief to more than 24,000 Veterans following a national review of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) disability compensation examinations conducted between 2007 and 2015.
Equitable relief is a unique legal remedy that allows the Secretary to correct an
injustice to a claimant, where VA is not otherwise authorized to do so within the
scope of the law.
Since 2007, medicine around TBI has been a rapidly evolving science. VA instituted
a policy requiring one of four specialists – a psychiatrist, physiatrist, neurosurgeon,
or neurologist – to complete initial TBI exams when VA does not already have a diagnosis.
VA selected these specialists because they have the most experience with the symptoms
and effects of TBI.
As more research became available, VA issued a series of guidance documents that created confusion regarding the policy. The nationwide review revealed that more than 24,000 Veterans did not receive an exam by one of the specifically designated specialists. Of the Veterans identified, more than 13,000 are already service connected for TBI at a 10 percent disability evaluation or higher.
To minimize burden and ensure no financial harm to affected Veterans, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs granted equitable relief to all of the more than 24,000 identified Veterans on May 3, 2016. The relief authorizes VA to offer new TBI exams, conducted by an appropriate specialist, to all identified Veterans.
Further, this equitable relief:
- Enables VA to take action on any new examinations without requiring Veterans to submit new claims.
- Allows VA to award an effective date as early as the date of original TBI claim and provide any retroactive benefits due.
VA will contact affected Veterans to notify them of the opportunity to receive new examinations and have their claims reprocessed. Affected Veterans will have one year in which to request new examinations.
VA understands the importance of an accurate exam to support Veterans’ disability claims. VA is committed to improving the medical exam experience and has identified it as one of the Department’s 12 MyVA Breakthrough Priorities.
CSCC Student Veterans’ Writing Group
Good writing takes stamina and determination, and few individuals are more disciplined than military personnel.
—Andrew Carroll, “Introduction” to Operation Homecoming pamphlet
Description: The CSCC Student Veterans’ Writing group is open to all CSCC student veterans. The focus of the group is on writing and sharing nonfiction “true stories” of life in and out of the military. It doesn’t matter whether or not you consider yourself a “good writer” or a writer at all; what you need is the desire to share your stories to write them down, and receive support from others as you do this.
Group Goals: To begin, we will be modeling our group off of the Syracuse Area Veterans’ Intergenerational Writing Group—to which we are indebted for its generous sharing of resources. However, student group members will continually shape specifically what the group does. Following are the general group goals:
- Learning and practicing key concepts for nonfiction writing, including reading examples of this type of writing.
- Completing writing exercises and drafting stories.
- Sharing stories and offering feedback to other group members in a supportive environment to provide encouragement.
- Finalizing and preparing work for public readings and publication.
Meetings: Meetings will be held monthly on the CSCC Delaware Campus. Monthly meeting dates and times will be dependent on group members’ availability. A meeting agenda will be sent to group members via student email prior to group meetings.
- We will communicate via CSCC student email.
- A Facebook group will be created called the CSCC Student Veterans’ Writing Group.
- We will also have a group web site.
Sponsorship and Group Leaders: The Columbus State Community College Delaware Campus and Military and Veterans Services Department are sponsors of this group. The group co-leaders are Nancy Pine and Beki Test. Assistant Professor Nancy Pine is a writing teacher in the CSCC English department on the Delaware Campus. I am also a U.S. Army veteran. You can reach me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on the CSCC Delaware Campus (740) 203-8072. Associate Professor Beki Test is a writing teacher and folklorist in the English department at CSCC. I am also an Air Force veteran. You can reach me via email email@example.com or call me at the downtown campus at (614) 287-5093. We look forward to working with you!
Workshops and Read-Arounds:
- We will frequently conduct writing workshops during group sessions, in which the goal is to listen to and provide constructive feedback. Following Syracuse’s model, “A writer reads his/her piece and listens to feedback. The goal is not to defend your piece or talk back to those who respond, but share it, listen to feedback, and absorb what others make of your piece. You have the right to make changes as you see fit—it’s your writing, so you are ultimately in control of what you produce and how to take into account other’s feedback.”
- We will also participate in “read-arounds,” in which “you read what you wrote and others just listen without commenting. The goal here is to listen to one another’s work without commenting. Afterward, we can have some time for general commenting across the pieces.” And there will probably be cake, or at least cookies.
Would you like to participate in a Veterans' Writing Group?
The CSCC Student Veterans’ Writing group is open to all CSCC student veterans. The focus of the group is on writing and sharing
nonfiction “true stories” of life in and out of the military. It doesn’t matter whether
or not you consider yourself a “good writer” or a writer at all; what you need is
the desire to share your stories to write them down, and receive support from others
as you do this.
Meetings are held monthly on the CSCC Delaware Campus. Meeting dates and times are dependent on group members’ availability. A meeting agenda will be sent to group members via student email prior to group meetings.
The group co-leaders are Nancy Pine and Beki Test. We teach English classes at CSCC. Please email either of us for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). We look forward to working with you!
Please Contact Dr. Pine if interested.
Ohio Warriors Hockey
The Ohio Warriors Hockey Program was founded in 2014 with the support of the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). The program is open to all injured and ill service members and disabled veterans, regardless of age or gender.
For more information, to see our practice schedules, or to donate, visit:
The Columbus State Insurance Certificate Pilot program is looking for Veterans? Here is information on the program http://www.cscc.edu/about/news-press/2015/insurance-pilot-program.shtml.
Alcohol & Other Drug Recovery Support Group
Contact Columbus State Counseling Services for more information located in Nestor Hall Room 010
Like Us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CSCCMVS
2015 Veterans Professional Advancement Course (VPAC) Dates Announced
Our next class is Friday, June 19th, and we have plenty of seats available. Please ask all those interested to email us at GMB-VPAC@cardinalhealth.com to register!
Cardinal Health Headquarters
7000 Cardinal Place Dublin, OH 43017
VA Develops Mobile Application "Concussion Coach" To Help Support Treatment for Veterans Who Suffer From Mild to Moderate Concussions - To better meet the needs of Veterans and others who have suffered mild to moderate concussion associated with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed "Concussion Coach," a mobile application ("app") that provides portable tools to recognize symptoms and to identify and make use of coping strategies.
Burn Pit Registry...
The VA is collecting info on service members who believe they experienced harmful environmental effects to their health from exposure to burn pits in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Currently, the VA says that research does not show evidence of long-term health problems from expo-sure to burn pits, in which a variety of waste from human to chemicals, petroleum and discarded food were burned. But it is also studying the issue and plans to continue doing so. To that end, the agency is seeking information from veterans who believe such exposure has compromised their health.
Veterans can also file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe were caused by exposure to burn pits. The claims will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
According to the VA, veterans who were closer to burn pit smoke or exposed for longer
periods may be at greater risk. Health effects depend on a number of other factors,
such as the kind of waste being burned and wind direction. Toxins in burn pit smoke
may affect the skin, eyes, respiratory and cardio-vascular systems, gastrointestinal
tract and internal organs. Most of the irritation is temporary and resolves once the
exposure is gone. This includes eye irritation and burning, coughing and throat irritation,
breathing difficulties, and skin itching and rashes. The high level of fine dust and
pollution common in Iraq and Afghanistan may pose a greater danger for respiratory
illnesses than exposure to burn pits, the VA said.
The online registry and additional information are at:
Join the Columbus State Veterans Organization Today! We are a chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA).