A federal court ruled this week that the Department of Veterans Affairs wrongly denied reimbursements to veterans who received emergency medical care at non-VA facilities. This decision could result in payouts to veterans totaling billions.
According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans, reimbursement regulations violated a law that requires VA to approve veteran’s claims for emergency room expenses not covered by
The legal defeat is the second time in the last three years that the court has struck down VA’s emergency medical services payment policies, both times chastising the department for only partially covering veterans’ expenses. Advocates praised the ruling.
“It’s difficult to conceive how an agency could believe that adopting a regulation that mimics the result a federal court held to be unlawful is somehow appropriate when the statute at issue has not changed,” the judges wrote.
VA officials can appeal the ruling to a higher court. In a statement, they said they are reviewing
the decision but offered no further comment.