Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Posts Tagged ‘ACE’

Thank You Veterans

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 11, 2012

Thank you to all who served 

With a special thank you to those who served again

and were sold out to

AIG, CNA, and ACE

by the US Government

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, Racketeering, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE, due to lack of Diagnoses and Early Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 21, 2012

“But we may be able to learn that early treatment of the initial acute [brain] injury may avoid this cascade from brain injury to CTE.”

As a civilian contractor you will be denied early treatment by the insurance company.  The liability for this further injury is with the Defense Base Act Insurance Company, CNA leading the way.  

David Woods The Huffington Post  September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON — Almost a quarter million American troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury are at risk of developing a degenerative disease that causes bursts of anger and depression and can lead to memory loss, difficulty walking and speaking, paranoia and suicide, according to military researchers.

At present, medical officials cannot diagnose or prevent the disease, called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and there is no known treatment for it, said Army Col. Dallas Hack, director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program.

But researchers are hot on the trail of new procedures to detect and diagnose the disease, and there is hope that early detection of brain injury among troops exposed to blasts from improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan could prevent them from falling victim to CTE.

“We don’t fully understand the incidence of CTE with the occurrence of traumatic brain injury,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Randall McCafferty, chief of neurosurgery at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. “But we may be able to learn that early treatment of the initial acute [brain] injury may avoid this cascade from brain injury to CTE.”

Please read the entire post here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Dropping the DBA Ball, KBR, Misjudgements, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Defense Base Act War Hazards Act: Overly Zealous Representation in Defending Against a DBA Claim

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 27, 2012

employer/carrier’s inadequate or overly zealous representation in defending against a DBA claim may be grounds for denying all or some portion of a request for WHCA reimbursement.

So Mr Rayburn how many War Hazards reimbursements has the DFEC denied

in part or whole over the following

Overly Zealous DBA Insurance Company Defense Tactics ?

The use of repeated Defense Medical Examinations with Doctors Over Paid to produce a report detrimental to the claimant, to run them through the drill

—————————————————

The claims process being drug out for as long as nine years with no end in sight while the defense racks up ever more legal fees, the insco keeps charging administrative fees, not to mention the claimants attorneys fee’s, while the claimant goes without  medical and/or indemnity

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Unnecessary mileage, airfare, lodging, expenses paid out due to due coercing claimants to travel as far as five states away to attend Defense Medical Examinations, Mediations, Depositions, Hearings

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The use of private investigators, some even criminals themselves, to stalk and intimidate injured contractors and their families far beyond simply confirming a claimants status

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The use of  Third Party Administrators to handle claims processes that could easily be done without the added expense and fees.

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Unnecessary fines and interest due to non payment or late payment of  indemnity

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The financial ruination of injured contractors and their families caused by the overly zealous controverting of legitimate claims

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The Temporary Disabilities which are now Permanent due to their failure to provide medical care under the guise of investigating clearly legitimate claims.  Now the US taxpayer is responsible for disabilities far beyond what they ever had to be.

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The PTSD Suicides caused by the Insurance Companies, their claims examiners, and their attorneys

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The break up of families caused the constant pressure and abusive tactics used by the Employer/Carrier

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The forced acceptance of inadequate settlements or stipulated agreements due to starving the claimant out for years on end and/or threatening the claimant and family that if they do not accept the inadequate settlement they will make them miserable for the rest of their lives (see The Weaponization of the Defense Medical Examination)

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Unfairly denying the claimants attorneys fees in order to discourage good attorneys from handling these claims

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FECA BULLETIN NO. 12-01

XI. Miscellaneous

1. DFEC requires, before acceptance of any WHCA reimbursement claim, that the employer/carrier has made only reasonable and prudent efforts in presenting all meritorious defenses against a DBA claim without regard to whether the case is eligible for WHCA reimbursement. An employer/carrier’s inadequate or overly zealous representation in defending against a DBA claim may be grounds for denying all or some portion of a request for WHCA reimbursement.

CECILY A. RAYBURN
Director, Division of Planning, Policy and Standards

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, DBA Attorneys Fees, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Hope that I die, Injured Contractors, KBR, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Suicide, Veterans, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Cummings Introduces Legislation to Reform Defense Base Act Insurance Program

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 6, 2012

In addition to cost concerns, the current system has failed to ensure that all injured workers obtain health care services, disability payments, or death benefits they and their families deserve

“There is absolutely no reason American taxpayers should be lining the pockets of private insurance companies,” said Cummings.

“This bill would save billions of dollars while improving the ability of contractor employees who risk their lives in war zones to obtain the medical care and support they deserve.”

Committee on Government and Oversight Reform  June 6, 2012

Washington, DC (June 6, 2012) —Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced legislation today that would save taxpayers huge sums of money by transitioning the existing workers’ compensation insurance system for overseas government contractors away from private sector insurance companies to a federal self-insurance program.

“There is absolutely no reason American taxpayers should be lining the pockets of private insurance companies,” said Cummings. “This bill would save billions of dollars while improving the ability of contractor employees who risk their lives in war zones to obtain the medical care and support they deserve.”

According to a 2009 Pentagon study, Congress could save as much as $250 million a year by transitioning the existing Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance program to a government self-insurance program. The study found: “In the long run, the self-insurance alternative may have the greatest potential for minimizing DBA insurance costs, and it has several administrative and compliance advantages as well.”

Cummings’s legislation, H.R. 5891, The Defense Base Act Insurance Improvement Act of 2012, would direct the Departments of Defense and Labor to establish a self-insurance program in which the government would pay directly for medical benefits and disability benefits rather than utilizing private insurance companies.

The existing system has been a boondoggle for private insurance companies, who have reaped enormous profits under the program. According to an Oversight Committee investigation, insurance companies providing DBA insurance in Iraq and Afghanistan have made enormous underwriting profits that are significantly higher than those of traditional workers’ compensation insurers.

The current DBA system requires contractors to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for employees working overseas from private insurance carriers, and the contractors and insurance companies negotiate their own rates. Since the costs of the insurance premiums are often built into the price of the contract with the government, there is little incentive for contractors to limit insurance costs.

Cummings’s bill would set a six month deadline for the Departments of Defense and Labor to develop an implementation strategy to transition to a self-insurance program, and it would require the strategy to be executed within a year after the bill is enacted.

The legislation would also require the Departments of Defense and Labor to issue a report one year after the program is implemented to assess its effectiveness in terms of cost-savings and the delivery of benefits.

In addition to cost concerns, the current system has failed to ensure that all injured workers obtain health care services, disability payments, or death benefits they and their families deserve. An analysis by ProPublica found that private insurance companies had denied about 44% of serious injury claims and about 60% of claims by employees suffering psychological damage such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

At the request of Congressman Cummings, the Domestic Policy Subcommittee held a hearing in 2009 to evaluate these findings, which confirmed that the Defense Base Act is in desperate need of reform.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

War is Brain-Damaging

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 18, 2012

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies and the Department of Labor are as negligent as the Department of Defense when it comes denying the dangers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, and most negligently when a contractor suffers from both.

“a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop”

The New York Times Sunday Review

These vets suffer from a particular kind of brain damage that results from repeated exposure to the concussive force of improvised explosive devices — I.E.D.’s — a regular event for troops traveling the roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s Russian roulette,” one vet told me, “We had one guy in our company who got hit nine times before the 10th one waxed him.” An I.E.D. explosion can mean death or at least a lost arm or leg, but you don’t have to take a direct hit to feel its effects. A veteran who’d been in 26 blasts explained, “It feels like you’re whacked in the head with a shovel. When you come to, you don’t know whether you’re dead or alive.”

The news that Robert Bales, an Army staff sergeant accused of having killed 16 Afghan civilians last week, had suffered a traumatic brain injury unleashed a flurry of e-mails among those of us who have been trying to beat the drums about this widespread — and often undiagnosed — war injury. New facts about Staff Sgt. Bales are coming out daily. After we heard about the brain injury that resulted when his vehicle rolled over in an I.E.D. blast, we were told that he had lost part of his foot in a separate incident. Then we learned that the day before his rampage, he’d been standing by a buddy when that man’s leg was blown off. There are also reports of alcohol use.

People with more appropriate professional skills than mine will have to parse these facts, but from what I have learned in my work as a storyteller, this tragedy may be related to something I heard about in my interviews: a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop. If alcohol was indeed part of the picture, it could have further undermined his compromised frontal lobe function

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Medical bills can wreck credit, even when paid off

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 4, 2012

When CNA does not pay Walter Reed and it goes on your credit rating as a “Serious Delinquency to the Treasury Department”

When AIG does not pay Landstuhl and the government attaches your Social Security, your only source of income because they are denying your claim

When CNA, AIG, ACE “approve” your doctors and medical but do not pay the bills

When CNA does not pay laboratory fees that show up on your credit rating years later

When CNA approves your wheelchair but it is repossessed due to non payment

When a US DOL ALJ signs a useless order requiring CNA or AIG to pay your past medical bills and they boldly defy the order

Your credit has been irreparably damaged and it is you that must bear the extreme cost of their abuse, never the insurance company or those that help them get away with this

By Carla K Johnson AP  March 4, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) — Mike and Laura Park thought their credit record was spotless. The Texas couple wanted to take advantage of low interest rates, so they put their house on the market and talked to a lender about a mortgage on a bigger home in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs.

Their credit report contained a shocker: A $200 medical bill had been sent to a collection agency. Although since paid, it still lowered their credit scores by about 100 points, and it means they’ll have to pay a discount point to get the best interest rate. Cost to them: $2,500.

A growing number of Americans could encounter similar landmines when they refinance or take out a loan. The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that sponsors health care research, estimates that 22 million Americans were contacted by collection agencies for unpaid medical bills in 2005. That increased to 30 million Americans in 2010.

Surprisingly, even after the bills have been paid off, the record of the collection action can stay on a credit report for up to seven years, dragging down credit scores and driving up the cost of financing a home. An estimated 3.4 million Americans have paid-off medical debt lingering on their credit reports, according to the Access Project, a research group funded by health care foundations and advocates of tougher laws on medical debt collectors.

Among them are Nathen and Melissa Cobb of Riverton, Ill., who tried to refinance their home last year. They didn’t qualify for the loan because of $740 in medical bills that had been sent to a collection agency. The Cobbs were surprised because the bills — nearly a dozen small copayments ranging from $6 to $280 — had been paid before they tried to refinance. The collection action took their credit score from good to mediocre and is likely to mar their credit report for years.

“I’m not one of those people trying to ditch out on my bills,” 34-year-old Melissa Cobb said. “I’m really frustrated.”

Medical bills make up the majority of collection actions on credit reports, and most are for less than $250, according to Federal Reserve Board research.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Military Cutback We Can’t Afford: Fighting Tropical Diseases

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 21, 2012

Leishmaniasis at The Iraq Infections

“In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans”

Barbara Herwaldt, CDC, on Leishmaniasis

Contractors will be even less likely to be diagnosed and/or treated timely or effectively despite the possibility you can transmit this to your family

Peter Hotez & James Kazura at The Atlantic

In recent months, many politicians and presidential hopefuls have called for budget reductions, and many have specifically targeted military spending for cutbacks. Unfortunately, even programs proven to be cost effective are vulnerable to cuts. Medical research for our troops is no exception to this rule — programs such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) often find themselves low on the priority list despite their crucial role in saving the lives of our troops on the battlefield and here at home.

One important area of research is tropical medicine. During World War II and the Vietnam War, more than one million service members acquired tropical infections such as malaria, dengue fever, hookworm, and typhus, and many of these diseases continued to plague our veterans after they returned home. Today, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still face formidable tropical disease threats, especially from a disease transmitted by the bite of sand flies known as leishmaniasis, which can cause a disfiguring ulcer in one form, and a serious systemic condition that clinically resembles leukemia in another. In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans.

WRAIR’s leishmaniasis diagnostic laboratory is the only one of its kind in the world, so each time funding is slashed our military loses considerable expertise and capabilities in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this devastating disease. For example, in the years prior to the Gulf War, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was officially decommissioned and all research was halted. Only after cases of leishmaniasis among U.S. forces exposed to sand-fly bites in the Iraqi desert were the remaining leishmaniasis experts at WRAIR quickly assembled and tasked with making up for lost time. In 2002, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was again dissolved only to be urgently activated once more with the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The interruptions to the WRAIR leishmaniasis program are part of much larger budget cuts across all of WRAIR’s tropical infectious disease research programs. There is no end to the irony of such cutbacks given that they coincide with the activation in 2008 of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), charged with fighting the war on terror across the African continent. Today, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of cases of tropical diseases anywhere in the world. Many of these tropical infections, such as river blindness and African sleeping sickness, have been shown to destabilize communities and may actually promote conflict in the region.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Injured Contractors, Iraq, Leishmaniasis, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Department of Labor District Offices Dead in the Water

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 16, 2011

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, DBA Attorneys Fees, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Ronco Consultilng, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Defense Base Act Insurance Companies: Prescription Drug Abuse

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 29, 2011

Guest Post by Marcie  Hascall Clark November 29, 2011

Under the Defense Base Act the Employer/Carrier are responsible for the Injured Contractors medical to include all necessary prescriptions and supplies required by their Doctors.

Evidently the Department of Labor deems it proper to first abuse the injured and/or their caretaker when it comes to approving and if ever, providing these necessary prescription drugs and other medical items.  Nothing has been done in an entire decade to assure the injured receive necessary medications and medical supplies.

Since our first experience with this in 2003 with CNA, which continues to this day only they don’t even bother approving prescriptions or anything else, not one entity has done as much as acknowledge the dangerous life threatening practice of running the injured in circles trying to get prescriptions filled.

You may receive a prescription card from a Third Party Administrator that you are required to use when trying to fill your prescription.  Only when you arrive at the pharmacy you are told that your prescription is not approved.  You must then contact the TPA, who claims that is not true and that your prescription has been approved.  Back to the pharmacy who apologizes but does not have approval for your prescription.

Back to the TPA who SAYS they must then contact CNA but it seems the claims adjuster has just gone back to hell for a few weeks and no one else can approve your prescription.  In another scenario they give you Debra Donato’s number to call who is filling in for the Claims Adjuster that is back in hell for a month this time.

Debra Donato’s number is a recording asking you to call another number.  The other number asks you to call the number you first called.

When the injured is unable to have the prescription filled using the “required” card,  under the DBA everything must be approved by the insurer, they are left to fend for themselves.  Most injured cannot afford to purchase these expensive drugs on their own and if they pay for them themselves the chances of being reimbursed are slim.  We’ve turned in receipts starting in 2003 and have never been reimbursed.

This abuse is being played out everyday causing overworked, overtired caregivers to have to run laps to pharmacies for no reason other than harassment.  Often the injured cannot be left unattended making a trip to the pharmacy, or anywhere else, an ordeal.

Often the injured goes without the medically necessary medications for months on end causing further physical and psychological damage.

All because of the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies abusive treatment of injured contractors.

An Award by an Administrative Law Judge and the Department of Labor will do nothing to assure that the Insurer provide these with or without the abuse.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Racketeering, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

War Widow Blames VA Neglect for her Husband’s Suicide

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 18, 2011

Sadly this reads like so many  Defense Base Act  PTSD Suicides, Neglect and unreasonable demands….

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. Courthouse News   October 18, 2011

Neglect and unreasonable demands from the Veterans Administration caused another Iraq war veteran to kill himself,

his widow claims in Federal Court. She says that despite a doctor’s “clear diagnosis” of post-traumatic stress disorder, from roadside bombs, including one that killed 93 people, the VA refused to admit he suffered from PTSD, with excuses such as “the diagnosis ‘does not specify which Diagnostic and Statistical Manual was used’”; and that he “‘failed to provide dates of the incidents or names of any casualties.’”
Tracy Eiswert says her husband Scott suffered substandard care from the VA hospital in Mountain Home, Tenn., before he killed himself in 2008. He was 31. She survives, with their two young children.
It’s the latest in a string of lawsuits from families of veterans nationwide, who say the VA was less than helpful after veterans returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VA in July 2010 relaxed requirements for veterans seeking service-connected PTSD benefits, but the agency still faces criticism for its mental health services.
The 9th Circuit ruled this year in a California class action that the “VA’s failure to provide adequate procedures for veterans facing prejudicial delays in the delivery of mental health care violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” according to Tracy Eiswert’s complaint.
Scott Eiswert joined the National Guard in 2001 and served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

Tracy Eiswert says her husband first sought help for his symptoms after he was honorably discharged in November 2005.
She says Scott saw a professional counselor at a private mental health facility in Greeneville for almost 4 months. Scott’s symptoms included depression, acute insomnia, extreme stress and irritability, according to medical records described in the complaint.
His counselor recommended individual psychotherapy and reported to Scott’s physician that he “certainly appears to meet the criteria for PTSD,” the complaint states.
According to the medical records, in May 2006, Scott’s counselor wrote a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs, stating: “After meeting with Mr. Eiswert for several appointments, we have established a diagnosis of PTSD, per the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual Criteria.”
The widow says her husband applied to the VA for service-connected PTSD benefits based on the counselor’s diagnosis.
The complaint states:
“In the application Scott describes a number of incidents in Iraq as follows:
“Various Route Clearances – Roadside Bombs, Raids
“Convoy Escorts, all the Outside Wire Dangers and Stresses.
“Close Calls on Roadside Bombs
“Car Bombs and the Destruction they Cause, Including Civilian Fatalities (Body Parts)
“‘I was on a Raid with Fellow Soldiers when they got Blown-Up by a Massive Roadside Bomb. (93 Dead, 1 Crippled)” [Punctuation as in complaint.]
But the VA denied his claims three times before he killed himself, his widow says.
In its September 2006 denial, the VA stated that Scott’s counselor “does not specify which Diagnostic and Statistical Manual was used.’ The denial analysis also states that even though Scott provided ‘sufficient details concerning a stressor …’ it ‘failed to provide dates of the incidents or names of any casualties.’” (Ellipsis in complaint).
Tracy Eiswert says the VA doctor who assessed Scott did not have access to the records of Scott’s private counselor and “relied entirely on Scott’s narrative to make his assessment.” She says the VA doctor “concluded that ‘veteran has current diagnosis of depression, NOS. He does describe symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, however not enough to meet criteria.’”
(NOS apparently indicates “not otherwise specified.”)
The VA denied Scott’s claim a second time in November 2006, after receiving additional medical records from the Tennessee National Guard.
Tracy Eiswert says VA doctors gave Scott medications for depression and insomnia, but he did not tolerate them well.
By early 2007, Scott reported increased marital and family problems, increased irritability, nightmares, night sweats and difficulty sleeping, according to medical records in the complaint

Please read the entire story at Courthouse News

Posted in AIG and CNA, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Medical Examinations, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, PTSD and TBI, Suicide, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Defense Department Inspector General says KBR and the military failed to respond quickly to health risks posed to Oregon soldiers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 28, 2011

The Oregonian   September 28, 2011

The Defense Department and contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root failed to act as quickly as they should have to protect those exposed to a carcinogenic chemical at an Iraqi water treatment plant in 2003, according to a report Wednesday by the Defense Department’s Inspector General.

The report was hailed as a victory for Oregon soldiers by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who was one of a group of senators who sought the IG’s evaluation, and by Oregon National Guard troops who are among those suing KBR. They accuse the contractor of knowingly exposing them to sodium dichromate, an anticorrosive compound that can cause skin and breathing problems and cancer.

Because KBR “did not fully comply with occupational safety and health standards required” under its contract with the Army, the Inspector General found, “a greater number of Service members and DoD civilian employees were exposed to sodium dichromate, and for longer periods, increasing the potential for chronic health effects.”

The report found that “nearly 1,000 Army soldiers and civilian employees were exposed to the compound in the five months it took from the initial site visit until the military command required personal protective equipment.

Please read more here

Posted in Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Iraq, KBR, Political Watch, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Injured War Contractors Sue Over Health Care, Disability Payments

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 27, 2011

T Christian Miller ProPublica September 27, 2011

Private contractors injured while working for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan filed a class action lawsuit [1] in federal court on Monday, claiming that corporations and insurance companies had unfairly denied them medical treatment and disability payments.

The suit, filed in district court in Washington, D.C., claims that private contracting firms and their insurers routinely lied, cheated and threatened injured workers, while ignoring a federal law requiring compensation for such employees. Attorneys for the workers are seeking $2 billion in damages.

The suit is largely based on the Defense Base Act, an obscure law that creates a workers compensation system for federal contract employees working overseas. Financed by taxpayers, the system was rarely used until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the most privatized conflicts in American history.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians working for federal contractors have been deployed to war zones to deliver mail, cook meals and act as security guards for U.S. soldiers and diplomats. As of June 2011, more than 53,000 civilians have filed claims for injuries in the war zones. Almost 2,500 contract employees have been killed, according to figures [2]kept by the Department of Labor, which oversees the system.

An investigation by ProPublica, the Los Angeles Times and ABC’s 20/20 [3] into the Defense Base Act system found major flaws, including private contractors left without medical care and lax federal oversight. Some Afghan, Iraqi and other foreign workers for U.S. companies were provided with no care at all.

The lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind, charges that major insurance corporations such as AIG and large federal contractors such as Houston-based KBR deliberately flouted the law, thereby defrauding taxpayers and boosting their profits. In interviews and at Congressional hearings, AIG and KBR have denied such allegations and said they fully complied with the law. They blamed problems in the delivery of care and benefits on the chaos of the war zones

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Follow the Money, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, Ronco Consultilng, spykids, State Department, T Christian Miller, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Defense Base Act Class Action Lawsuit

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 26, 2011

Today  Injured War Zone Contractors and Scott Bloch filed a

Class Action Lawsuit

against the

Defense Base Act Insurance Companies

and some Employers.

Scott Bloch files complaint for $2 billion against major government contractors like

KBR, Blackwater/Xe, DynCorp, G4S/Wackenhut/Ronco Consulting

and the global insurance carriers

AIG, CNA, ACE, Zurich,

on behalf of thousands of former employees,

for

unlawful, fraudulent and bad-faith mistreatment of

injured employees and their families  

Brink Vs. CNA et al

The Defense Base Act Compensation blog and it’s contributors invite you to

Join our Class Action here

The truth will be exposed

WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2011)

Since 2003, top government contractors like Blackwater, KBR, DynCorp, CSA/AECOM and ITT have been perpetrating a fraud on their employees and on the American public.  The silent warriors who work for these companies, many of them decorated former military service members, have been injured, mistreated and abandoned by the contracting companies and their insurance carriers who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums.

“It is a grave injustice,” Bloch said, “to those who rode alongside American soldiers, including Iraqi and Afghani Nationals, to be case aside without the benefits of the law.  We are supposedly trying to bring them the rule of law.  We are supposedly trying to encourage them in democractic institutions.  We are the ones asking them to believe in justice and individual rights.  This is a travesty to all Americans and those around the world who look to America for an example of humanitarian aid and proper treatment of workers.”

This is a lawsuit for damages in the amount of $2 billion to remedy the injuries and destruction caused to the lives, finances and mental and physical well being of thousands of American families and others whose loved ones were injured while serving America under contracts with the United States.  It seeks an additional unspecified amount to punish the companies who made massive profits while causing this harm to people unlawfully and maliciously and working a fraud on the American public who paid them.
“This abusive and illegal scheme by the defendants has been allowed to go on for too long.  We are talking about loss of life, suicide, loss of homes, marriages, families split up, “ Bloch said, “and the culprits are the large government contractors who should have treated their employees better, and the mega-insurance companies who were paid a hefty sum to make sure the employees were taken care of with uninterrupted benefits in the event of injuries in these war zones.”
This complaint is filed due to actions and omissions of defendants, in conspiracy with others, and individually, to defeat the right of American citizens and foreign nationals to receive their lawful benefits and compensation under the Defense Base Act (“DBA”),  as it adopts the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).
The lawsuit explains that those sued engaged under the RICO statute in an enterprise of fraudulent and or criminal acts to further their scheme to defeat the rights of individuals who have been injured or suffered occupational diseases, and death, while on foreign soil in support of defense activities under the DBA.   These acts were perpetrated repeatedly through bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, using telephones, faxes, and United States mail .
“These are heroes, decorated by America’s Armed Services,” said Bloch.  “Some of the foreign contractors were decorated special forces soldiers from their countries who assisted the United States in combating threats.  The sheer disregard for human dignity and law is reprehensible and deserves punishment.  These families and many others who have been harmed need treatment, need compensation, need redress of the wrongs that have been perpetrated by these huge companies and insurance carriers for the last 10 years.  They have earned $100 billion per year on the backs of these people, with the blood of these plaintiffs and those whom they represent.”
The was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and covers individuals from all over the United States, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and other counties.

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:
Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290

Posted in Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Dyncorp, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, Ronco Consultilng, State Department, Suicide, Toxic Exposures, USAID, Veterans, Wackenut, War Hazards Act, Whistleblower, Xe, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Epidemic: Over 400,000 Traumatic Brain Injuries for Vets Coming from Iraq and Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 26, 2011

With like numbers of Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, similar casualty rates though we do not know who they are, why are contractors not receiving screening and medical treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries? 

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies deny diagnoses and treatment for TBI for the precious years that are so vital to the injured contractors recovery.  Years that no amount of money can ever bring back.

“We now know that the brain can heal. It has an intrinsic plasticity that allows it to recover, and this is particularly true for the young brain.”

A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that “neurons in the adult brain can remodel their connections,” thus “overturning a century of prevailing thought.”

The DOD has long resisted the diagnosis of mTBI, as it has avoided paying for a successful – but expensive – way to treat it. The price of that resistance is escalating suicide rates and domestic violence incidents among returning soldiers. In 2010, almost as many soldiers committed suicide as fell in battle.

By Conn Hallinan at AlertNet

America faces a huge challenge in caring for the shocking number of traumatized war vets.

“We are facing a massive mental health problem as a result of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a country we have not responded adequately to the problem. Unless we act urgently and wisely, we will be dealing with an epidemic of service related psychological wounds for years to come.” — Bobby Muller, President Veterans for America

According to official Defense Department (DOD) figures, 332,000 soldiers have suffered brain injuries since 2000, although most independent experts estimate that the number is over 400,000. Many of these are mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), a term that is profoundly misleading.

As David Hovda, director of the Brain Injury Research Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, points out, “I don’t know what makes it ‘mild,’ because it can evolve into anxiety disorders, personality changes, and depression.” It can also set off a constellation of physical disabilities from chronic pain to sexual dysfunction and insomnia.

MTBI is defined as any incident that produces unconsciousness lasting for up to a half hour or creates an altered state consciousness. It is the signature wound for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where roadside bombs are the principal weapon for insurgents.

Most soldiers recover from mTBI, but between five and 15 percent do not. According to Dr. Elaine Peskind of the University of Washington Medical School, “The estimate of the number who returned with symptomatic mild traumatic brain injury due to blast exposure has varied from the official VA [Veterans Administration] number of 9 percent officially diagnosed with mTBI to over 20 percent, and, I think, ultimately it will be higher than that.”

Serious consequences from mTBI are increased when troops are subjected to multiple explosions and “just get blasted and blasted and blasted,” in the words of Maj. Connie Johnmeyer. Out of two million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 800,000 have had multiple deployments, many up to five times or more.

But mTBI is difficult to diagnose because it does not show up on standard CAT scans and MRIs. “Our scans show nothing,” says Dr. Michael Weiner, professor of radiology, psychiatry and neurology at the University of California at San Francisco and director of the Center for Imaging Neurodegenerative Disease at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center.

They do now.

An MRI set to track the flow of water through the brain’s neurons, has turned up anomalies that indicate the presence of mTBI. However, the military has blocked informing patients of results of the research, and if history is any guide, the Pentagon will do its best to shelve or ignore the results.

The DOD has long resisted the diagnosis of mTBI, as it has avoided paying for a successful – but expensive – way to treat it. The price of that resistance is escalating suicide rates and domestic violence incidents among returning soldiers. In 2010, almost as many soldiers committed suicide as fell in battle.

MTBI is hardly new. Some 5.3 million people in the U.S. are currently hospitalized or in residential facilities because of it, and its social consequences are severe.  Please read the entire story at AlertNet

Posted in Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Insurance, Injured Contractors, Iraq, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, T Christian Miller, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

War Hazards Act pays Insurance Companies more for expenses than to Claimants for compensation

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 9, 2011

“Over the past six years  (does  not include 2010) under the WHCA,
the federal government has paid more in reimbursements to insurers for expenses
$19.7 million
than it has paid in compensation to claimants
$12.1 million”
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There is evidence that the current process, in which the federal government identifies WHCA claims after they have been paid as DBA claims and then reimburses insurers for claim and administrative costs, results in the federal government paying significant amounts that do not go directly to claimants.
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Over the past six years under the WHCA, the federal government has paid more in reimbursements to insurers for expenses ($19.7 million) than it has paid in compensation
to claimants ($12.1 million).
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There is also evidence, including testimony provided by DBA and WHCA claimants at a 2009 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, that in some cases, claimants with injuries that clearly fall under the statutory requirements of the WHCA must first navigate procedural and other requirements of their contractors’ DBA insurers before their cases are eventually transferred to DOL.
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In some cases, DBA insurers controvert claims or oppose specific benefits for claims that are likely to end up at the DOL under the WHCA. Under the current system, insurers have the right and responsibility to investigate all claims and controvert or oppose claims and benefits they feel are not their responsibility or that fall outside of the DBA.
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However, this can cause delays for claimants, including claimants with clear WHCA cases that will eventually be paid by the DOL.
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Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, DBA Attorneys Fees, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Follow the Money, Hope that I die, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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