Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Vetted International

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 4, 2009

The Defense Base Act Workmans Compensation Blog would like to announce and make clear that we have received no complaints from injured civilian contractors regarding their interactions with Vetted International.

We can say that at least one contractor has mentioned them in positive way on this blog.

The Vetted International Press Release

18 Responses to “Vetted International”

  1. Hi to all.

    Vetted International managed to get my MRSA treatment from CNA after I battled with Donna Sprags. They have on several occasions paid for my medication. Before John Maclean, Brian Sjostedt and Tyler K attended to my file, I almost died of infections. This company came to South Africa and negotiated with all my medical suppliers. Most of all they settled my debts.

    The funny thing off all is that just as it seems that all is well, Donna closed my file with them. Because of the file closure, I cannot get medication from the hospital. My medical providers wants nothing to do with Donna Sprags because of all her empty payment promises.
    Vetted appointed a medical professional to take care of my day to day needs. They furthermore looked at how they where going to get my life back to as normal as possible.

    My situation is back to where i was before Vetted International intervened. Why would Donna Sprags close my file with Vetted if they where the only people who kept me of her back. I must admit that I’m not the easiest person in life to deal with. I can be downright rude and unpleasant. It did not matter what type of curve ball i threw at this company, they managed to sort every problem out. I want to publicly apologize to them for all the hard times i gave them and can publicly state that Vetted was the best thing that could have happened to the South African contractors.

    I need this company to take of me. Three cheers for Vetted. Keep up the good work!!

    Forever gratefull
    Daniel Brink

  2. T-Daddy said

    http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/coa/dsheets/090596-1.htm

    Found this interestinig article on a google search of Vetted International-Seems the owner of Vetted, Brian Sjostedt, got sued by another investigations company in North
    Carolina called MJM. Wonder why they got sued? These companies are all shady and should be looked into by DOL. I am a former KBR employee that worked in Iraq in 2006 and this
    whole mess really upsets me as I have had lots of friends that are injured and are being screwed over.

  3. Brian Sjostedt said

    Dear T-Daddy,

    The link contains accurate information. Vetted International currently has an ongoing dispute with the listed company and to answer your question, it is a contract dispute. This type of litigation is not uncommon and I wish I could comment more on the matter, but I must refrain while the case is ongoing.

    If the DOL needs to investigate anything regarding our company and conduct, I welcome such inquiries. Additionally, if anyone has a matter in which they believe we improperly handled their case, I welcome them to contact me directly and bring it to my attention.

    I do support all parties involved in these processes to be held accountable. I would disagree that all companies are shady. I certainly respect that opinion on the basis of many unresolved claims, but I would disagree that everyone is shady.

    We wouldn’t be in this business unless we shared your concerns. We also served in Iraq between 2004 – 2005 and have experienced the losses of friends from catastrophic events.

    Please feel free to contact me if you wish.

    Kind regards,

    Brian Sjostedt
    brian.sjostedt@vetted-intl.com

  4. T-Daddy said

    Mr. Brian, thank you for writing me back , however I am unclear about something,
    Is your company a humanitarian organization or do you work for Money? Do you decide or does the Insurance companies tell you what to do?
    Does your company still work for CNA or AIG and if so, why can’t you help Mr. Brink in South Africa? Can you answer these questions or will
    you be restricted to secrecy like this lawsuit against you? Also, what is your opinion on Donna Spraggs which I am sure you have worked with?

  5. Brian Sjostedt said

    We are not a humanitarian organization. We bill our customers for our services. Not all of our customers are insurance carriers. We do bill defense contractors directly if they request assistance on matters that may not be covered by insurance.

    In the cases of insurance company requests, we receive objectives from them. I.e we may be asked to manage care through MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement). From that perspective, we will work with the patient to get them there. The insurance company does not direct us how to do that. Whatever is in the best interest of the patient and their physician by medical necessity is how we go about assisting them with recovery. We will pay their medical expenses as Daniel explained as well.

    CNA has elected not to use Vetted while the ongoing litigation is occurring. We remain available to provide medical management if the insurance carrier approves.

    Vetted respect’s patient privacy and will not discuss a case (such as Daniel’s) with a third party. I apologize I cannot elaborate further on Daniel’s case, but can say that we are able to provide the service on behalf of his insurance carrier if approved to do so by them.

    We do provide medical management for AIG and other insurers.

    I am not restricted to secrecy, but must respect the privacy of patients and personally have elected not to discuss any details about the lawsuit while it is ongoing. I can say that the lawsuit has nothing to do with medical management of DBA claims and is purely a contractual dispute and is currently under appeal.

    I have worked with Donna Spraggs on the case you have referred to, so I do know her. I believe we have assisted her greatly in the cases in which we have worked on.

    • inthespotlight said

      ANGLE OR ANGEL ??
      You decide.
      Nice of you post on this forum Brian however what has changed?

      We have information where vetted international employees have requested Doctors not to provide reports to their patients.
      Unpaid medical bills in one statement you claim not to wait for insurer authorization but pay promptly if the treatment is required.

      Vetted not providing doctors with diagnostics or medical reports so doctors can complete DME’s
       
       
       
       
      Brian Sjostedt said
      August 6, 2009 at 10:48 am
      I navigated to this forum in order to provide answers and feedback to questions in which we have a factual basis to provide this community forum feedback. I share the frustration that calls are not returned and questions remain unanswered. I respect your opinions and am concerned of the mass numbers of similar stories that appear throughout this website. Accountability is in order.
      I assure you that the focus of Vetted investigations is to obtain the required documentation to support a claim, not to deny them (and I have admittedly stated that we have found some claims to be non-compensable). Our mission is to provide factual information without any bias. I cannot and won’t speak on behalf of any other company that may perform this service for insurance carriers, nor can I say with any factual basis that I know how information provided to insurance carriers is handled or mishandled. I am not an employee of those organizations nor do I work inside those buildings. We simply provide required factual information.
      Yes, the carriers do pay us. And so does the DBA insured employer. The insurance companies pay because that is the structure under the Act. Employers voluntarily seek our services and pay as well. We have no reason to bill a contractor.

      And if a contractor is examined or treated thru any medical service, they have a right to that information as indicated in our Privacy Practices

      (http://www.vetted-intl.com/privacy.html).

      Your attorneys also have privileges.
      I have noticed that other companies, insurance carriers, and the Department of Labor have not commented in this forum. I have voluntarily responded, but again…..The only feedback I can provide with any certainty is how we at Vetted handle assignments. Vetted handles only a small percentage of claims as evident by the number of claims submitted to DOL and the number of assignments we have received.
      I agree and support full accountability of all participants in this process. I also believe that your community through this blog and website will successfully move towards improvement in accountability.
      It is also the position of Vetted International that PTSD is a condition that needs to be examined in any case in which a patient has experienced trauma and shows symptoms. Additionally, we maintain the opinion that any incident that results in symptoms or complaints that are attributed to the likelihood of a traumatic brain injury should be investigated as well. These are recommendations that are always addressed during our medical response and assessments. I suspect that the personnel in this community forum that have not experienced this level of care have not been working with Vetted. But if you have, I again invite those individuals to contact me directly so we can speak one on one.
      You asked about what I personally did in Iraq between 2004 & 2005. I worked with DynCorp in support of the non-police mission PSD Details. I lived and worked out of a neighborhood called Al-Mesbah. I returned to the United States around March 2005 and founded Vetted in May 2005 (not September).
      Again, if anyone would like to speak to me directly, please contact me. I wish everyone the best in resolving their cases. I’m sorry we cannot be of any assistance if we have not been assigned your file.
       
      We await your reply Brian

      • Brian Sjostedt said

        Since reviewing your comments, I have reached out to claimants in the United Kingdom and other countries who share your concerns and have discovered that many are in agreement with you and have had similar experiences. This deeply concerns me and I asked for as much information that they could give. I am appreciative of their feedback and understand their disappointment. It is quite honorable of these men to have such candid discussions with me in consideration of their extreme disappointment and lost trust. From your comments and those provided by the claimants who share your concerns, I would like to use this opportunity to answer your three inquiries for the entire community.

        1) We have information where Vetted International employees have requested doctors not to provide reports to their patients.

        Our instructions to doctors contracted for IMEs (Independent Medical Evaluations) should have included instructions to provide a copy of the original report to the Carrier and not the patient. No firm should ever instruct a doctor treating a patient who chose that doctor to withhold a report copy from their own patient. Whether the doctor is the patient’s own or one contracted for the purpose of an IME, we have no intent of indefinitely holding any report from the patient’s access.

        After lengthy discussions and serious consideration, I am convinced that there was a problem that needed immediate attention. Therefore, we have clarified and standardized our physician instructions for IME’s to not include any language that would lead any person to believe we are instructing them not to release medical reports to the claimants examined. All personnel within our company have been re-trained to ensure this. In the past, we have instructed claimants and their attorney’s to request copies from the Carrier, however, any claimant in the United Kingdom may make such request directly to the examining physician pursuant to the Data Protection Act (Reports prepared by medical practitioners contracted by employers or insurance companies do not fall under the Medical Reports Act, but instead the Medical Records Act indicates the Data Protection Act of 1998 does apply). Furthermore, Vetted will upon request of a claimant or represented attorney provide a copy of the report pursuant to its own privacy policy (http://www.vetted-intl.com/privacy.html) in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). Simply stated, reports are provided by making such request to the Vetted International Privacy Officer (privacy.officer@vetted-intl.com). Reports can also be obtained from the Carrier as always. In conclusion, you calling attention to this matter and has resulted in Vetted taking necessary steps to make these reports more available and to update its training with its staff. I remain committed that this is seen through and will personally make periodic quality reviews. If any patient in the United Kingdom (or any country for that matter) is being refused a copy of a report from a provider which we requested and are a party to, please feel free to contact me directly.

        2) Unpaid medical bills in one statement you claim not to wait for insurer authorization but pay promptly if the treatment is required.

        Generally speaking, if we are contracted to provide services under the compensability of a claim, we will pay all bills associated with the pre-approved treatment of that injury that is directly associated with the injury at the time of the claim without any additional authorization. However, if further complications develop and another injury appears as a result, we must seek authorization for that. If there is no casual relationship, we won’t receive authorization. We have started to see instructions that forbid payment for services and invoices that are not accompanied with a medical/treatment report. This is customary practice, however, it does pose a major problem that does delay payment. We don’t want to inconvenience the patient with administrative work, so we try our best to get the reports to support paying without soliciting assistance from the patient. The Carrier requires this and we can’t spend their funds without it. It may be beneficial for patients and vendors such as Vetted and other service providers to solicit assistance from each other in obtaining these reports.

        3) Vetted not providing doctors with diagnostics or medical reports so doctors can complete DME’s.

        This is a major problem for which we acknowledge. I assure you we do not intentionally withhold reports. We can only give the doctors what is provided to us from the Carrier. There have been times where the patient provides the evaluating physician more reports that we actually were provided. I can’t speak for carriers. I can’t speak for claimants. I can listen thoroughly and respond with the best solution accordingly. It is my experience that the claimant’s employer provides minimal information when submitting the claim and unfortunately that is all that is given to us. It would make sense that the claimant himself would maintain more medical reports on himself than the employer would. After all, it is the patient going to the doctor, not the employer. I am going to recommend that a standard objective in these cases be updated to request all medical documents the patient has for consideration. Some claimants will be guarded at that request, but it can’t hurt to ask.

        I am very appreciative of the opportunity to discuss problems with this community. Working together, we can assure a fair and honest system. The alternative just isn’t acceptable. If Vetted is working your claim and you are not receiving the level of service expected, please contact me directly. If we have managed your claim, and are no longer involved, and you feel that we could have handled something better, please contact me directly as well. If you are represented, I welcome your attorney to contact me if there is a problem. I will always remain responsive and will not ignore respectful dialogue and requests. Please do understand that I cannot do anything outside my authorization and in those cases I will certainly articulate the reasons that prevent such actions.

        Brian Sjostedt
        brian.sjostedt@vetted-intl.com

  6. T-Daddy said

    Mr. Brian, can you clarify if your firm also conducts investigation services for insurance companies as per your website?

    http://www.vetted-intl.com/investigative.html

  7. Brian Sjostedt said

    Yes. The website is correct. Our investigative division conducts pre-employment background screening, claims investigations, and have in the past completed investigations pursuant to a DBA claim. Currently, we are not performing any investigation on DBA claims. We hope that we can again provide this service as we are very proud of the positive results that have resulted in expeditious claims handling.

    A common misconception about DBA investigations is that the purpose of the investigation is to find a way to deny the claim. This is not the intent. Almost all of the investigations we have completed resulted in compensability. There have been a small percentage that were discovered non-compensable for very valid reasons. A good example of this are pre-existing conditions with no environmental impact that exasperated the condition. (i.e. abscessed tooth). This type of claim falls under another coverage if provided by the employer.

    The DBA requires pertinent data to be collected from the employer, claimant, and witnesses to substantiate compensability. A timely inquiry into these requirements facilitates faster claim handling. While I understand that this is not the result of many people’s experiences that have posted to this website, the process is necessary and is required.

  8. daffodils said

    You must be kidding: “A common misconception about DBA investigations is that the purpose of the investigation is to find a way to deny the claim.”, when its common knowledge that this is always the real purpose of any insurance investigation. Why do you think AIG and CNA pay you, not the contractor or his lawyer? And he who pays the piper calls the tune, you were obviously a little too ethical for Donna’s taste and perhaps put her bonus at risk.

    A letter signed by more than 3,500 doctors and released last week by Physicians for a National Health Program is instructive:
    “And a kinder, gentler public option would quickly fail in a health care marketplace where competition involves a race to the bottom, not the top, where insurers compete by NOT paying for care.”
    These doctors should know, and there is no difference between the profit motive of DBA insurers or health insurers.

    You also claim that “There have been a small percentage that were discovered non-compensable for very valid reasons” which can only be accurate if you did not investigate PTSD/ TBI claims, the signature wounds of the war. The majority of these are disputed, delayed, denied or only partially awarded. A measly settlement coerced from desperate and mentally ill civilians is not compensation, its a disgrace.

    Curious to know what you did in Iraq in 2004/5 when the press release says Vetted started in September 2005?

  9. Brian Sjostedt said

    I navigated to this forum in order to provide answers and feedback to questions in which we have a factual basis to provide this community forum feedback. I share the frustration that calls are not returned and questions remain unanswered. I respect your opinions and am concerned of the mass numbers of similar stories that appear throughout this website. Accountability is in order.

    I assure you that the focus of Vetted investigations is to obtain the required documentation to support a claim, not to deny them (and I have admittedly stated that we have found some claims to be non-compensable). Our mission is to provide factual information without any bias. I cannot and won’t speak on behalf of any other company that may perform this service for insurance carriers, nor can I say with any factual basis that I know how information provided to insurance carriers is handled or mishandled. I am not an employee of those organizations nor do I work inside those buildings. We simply provide required factual information.

    Yes, the carriers do pay us. And so does the DBA insured employer. The insurance companies pay because that is the structure under the Act. Employers voluntarily seek our services and pay as well. We have no reason to bill a contractor. And if a contractor is examined or treated thru any medical service, they have a right to that information as indicated in our Privacy Practices (http://www.vetted-intl.com/privacy.html). Your attorneys also have privileges.

    I have noticed that other companies, insurance carriers, and the Department of Labor have not commented in this forum. I have voluntarily responded, but again…..The only feedback I can provide with any certainty is how we at Vetted handle assignments. Vetted handles only a small percentage of claims as evident by the number of claims submitted to DOL and the number of assignments we have received.

    I agree and support full accountability of all participants in this process. I also believe that your community through this blog and website will successfully move towards improvement in accountability.

    It is also the position of Vetted International that PTSD is a condition that needs to be examined in any case in which a patient has experienced trauma and shows symptoms. Additionally, we maintain the opinion that any incident that results in symptoms or complaints that are attributed to the likelihood of a traumatic brain injury should be investigated as well. These are recommendations that are always addressed during our medical response and assessments. I suspect that the personnel in this community forum that have not experienced this level of care have not been working with Vetted. But if you have, I again invite those individuals to contact me directly so we can speak one on one.

    You asked about what I personally did in Iraq between 2004 & 2005. I worked with DynCorp in support of the non-police mission PSD Details. I lived and worked out of a neighborhood called Al-Mesbah. I returned to the United States around March 2005 and founded Vetted in May 2005 (not September).

    Again, if anyone would like to speak to me directly, please contact me. I wish everyone the best in resolving their cases. I’m sorry we cannot be of any assistance if we have not been assigned your file.

  10. defensebaseactcomp said

    We are grateful to Brian for coming here and answering our questions.
    We often reach out to the companies, the lawyers, the Department of Labor. We ask them to participate here and to tell their side of the story.
    So far none of them have bothered.
    We could make huge strides in our efforts to see the DBA implemented as it was intended to be and to see the changes we feel are necessary made if there were more interaction of this nature.
    Thank you Brian for putting yourself into this frothy discussion. We can be a hostile bunch, it is how we have been treated by others that has caused this.

  11. Brian Sjostedt said

    My pleasure. Best wishes to all and thank you for your service.

  12. If honesty and ethics were requirements to be in the insurance business AIG and CNA would not be putting profit over the value of human life.

    Injured Contractors would be getting medical care and financial compensation “forthwith” as stated in the DBA.

    Defense Medical Evaluations might actually be Independent Medical Evaluations.

    Gathering of the necessary facts to process a “claim” might not have to be a full blown “investigation” complete with Private Eyes stalking injured contractors and their families.

    A lot of defense lawyers would have to find another rock to crawl under.

    The taxpayer would be relieved of the huge burden of caring for injured contractors that are AIG and CNA’S responsibility.

    I will never agree with having the same company that provides medical care also determine disability ratings and investigate claims.

    A wife’s testimony regarding her husbands status is not acceptable in an ALJ hearing due to her financial interest. Why are we to accept the opinion of a doctor or investigator, especially if they are of the same entity, when they have a financial interest? These too should not be considered.

    I am pleased to learn though that one of these companies has successfully worked to the benefit of an injured contractor. I am sorry for those injured contractors who no longer are able to benefit from these services.

    Honesty and ethics could well be the problem as daffodils suggests.

  13. T-Daddy. I take great offense when you state all these companies are shady. What work did you do at KBR?
    Vetted is by no means shady. If Dyncorp, General Motors nad tohers Fotrune 500 companies aresued,does it mean they are shady. The claims that they have reported from South Africa was done in a fair basis and without “malice”. I have seen of the contractors taking chances and lying to obtain benefits in my country. I hate dishonesty and lies. I hope each cheat that is caught, gets prosecuted to the fullest extent.

    Do you expect the Vetted to lie to their client with regards to the true extent of a claimants condition or illness??? I think you must go and make sure of your facts before you go and read to much into the gossip pages of the newspapers.

  14. T-Daddy, did the cat get your tongue mate!!!! I’m waiting for your to reply!!!

  15. JT said

    I have worked with Vetted Intl and have seen the efforts first hand. Their organization is one of the best out there. I know of a specific example whereby a claim was in question by the insurance company and the employer asked Vetted to handle a service. The agreement was made within the same day and the employee was taken care of. The human element is one that Brian and his team take pride in keeping a top priority. You can always replace a building or a vehicle, rather difficult to replace a life. You have my company’s vote Brian. Thanks for your service and commitment. Wish we had more people like you out there.

  16. Brit Guy said

    I am not jumping to the defence of insurance companies far from it as I think most of them are despicable underhand shysters hell bent on profit above care.
    However I would like to point out that when I got injured in Iraq a woman who now works for Vetted but was the adjuster on my case for another company at the time. Visited me in hospital soon after my accident she was efficient competent and caring. All of my medical needs where met at the time she liaised with the doctors paid the bills on time and followed up everything. She left the insurance company to take up a position with Vetted and that is were it all went horribly wrong. None payment of medical bills late benefit cheques under payment of benefits so the new adjuster just did not seem up to the job. It was my responsibility to check I had received the benefits I was told when I pointed out the mistakes under payments and so on I got snotty terse emails saying it would be put right. I noticed that my payments now came from a company called Vetted International and not the carrier. The carrier said they used Vetted and my cheques came through them.
    Anyway as my case went into dispute the insurers asked Vetted to set up an IME this they did. The doctor they chose went through everything and produced his report which pointed out things that had not been picked up on. Things the insurers would not want to hear I am sure. I received a copy of the medical report as soon as it was produced.
    So let us be fair on these sites and credit where credit is due Vetted did a good job and where efficient and fair. I hope they keep up the good work on our behalf Thanks Brian and the team at Vetted
    Oh just one thing though Brian as my case heads for litigation guess who the insurance company are blaming for late and under payment of benefits.

    This is not a dig at the people at Vetted but just goes to show how the insurers work they even blame their own

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