Thursday, January 17, 2013

Show Support for Veterans with Parkinson's

Submit Your Comments on Draft Rule Regarding 
Parkinson's and Traumatic Brain Injury

"The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued a proposed rule to make it easier for veterans to receive health care and compensation for certain illnesses, including parkinsonism, dementia, and depression, which have been linked to traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

The proposed rule cites an Institute of Medicine report referencing three research studies supporting a connection between the development of parkinsonisms and traumatic brain injury. The Parkinson's Action Network (PAN) applauds the VA's effort to keep up on the latest science in this dynamic area and will be submitting comments to support the proposal.

The Parkinson's community has a successful track record in weighing in on expanded access to VA benefits.  I am asking you to amplify this message. Please show your support for veterans by submitting comments by the February 8 filing deadline. Each comment will be recorded and counted!

Why This is Important:
More than 80,000 veterans living with Parkinson's disease receive care and assistance from the VA. Research supports a link between head injury and the development of Parkinson's".  I am hopeful that including Dan's unique case will open doors for assistance from the VA for us as well by including dangerous overexposure to radiation as well as tramatic brain injuries.

How to Submit Your Comments:
  • Go to the comment form.
  • Enter your own comments, or feel free to use the language below to paste in the comment box and click "submit."

Suggested Comment Text:

Dan Hott, is a veteran and was diagnosed in 2008 with Parkinson's Disease.  While in the Air Force in 1978, Dan was involved in an incident where he was subjected to levels of RF well in excess of safety standards, 650 mW-sec/cm2.  His overexposure to radiation has resulted in Parkinson's Disease.  Now, suffering from severe distonia, Dan has had to close his business as an environmental engineer.  Since then, he is still waiting for the VA to issue complete disability.

As a member of the Parkinson's community, I applaud the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) proposal to designate parkinsonism, depression, and dementia as service-connected for veterans who experienced a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) during their service.

Parkinson's is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease, which affects an estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million Americans.  More than 80,000 veterans living with Parkinson's disease currently receive care and assistance from the VA and recent studies show a connection between TBI and parkinsonisms, including Parkinson's disease.

I also support the VA's effort to ensure all who deserve access to critical benefits have it. As the proposed rule states, research supports a link between head injury and parkinsonism. I encourage the VA to continue to review research to assess whether it supports extending eligibility for these benefits to veterans who experience any TBI, not just those classified as moderate or severe.

Additionally, we encourage the VA to extend eligibility to those veterans who have been overexposed with radiation and now suffer from Parkinson's as well.

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