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Veterans Receive False Lou Gehrig's Disease Diagnoses

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently made a huge mistake when they sent letters to veterans, informing them that they had Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Department promises that they will send personal apology letters to all veterans, with an additional explanation as to why this error occurred.

VA employees were still unsure of exactly how many veterans received the false letter. So far, they estimate that 1,800 letters were sent, but have been notified by only 10 veterans that reported receiving the notice. Nevertheless, a Gulf War veterans group said that it had received notices from at least 1,200 veterans that received the letter.

Two veterans, former Air Force reservist Gale Reid and former Army Sergeant, Samuel Hargrove, said they were suspicious of the letters. Nevertheless, both individuals sought second opinions and incurred large medical expenses. Reid reported spending $3,000 in seeking a second opinion and hopes that the VA will cover the expenses.

The VA recently stated that the mistake was caused by a coding error in which veterans with undiagnosed neurological disorders were accidentally assigned the code for ALS. The VA uses 8,000 codes for diseases and illnesses. Sadly, the VA agency spokesperson, Katie Roberts, says she is unsure whether the VA will cover the extraneous medical expenses reported by Reid and Hargrove and that “she had to check on any reimbursements.”