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Whistleblower and Attorney Appeal QTC and Veterans’ Agent Orange Cases

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Norfolk, VAAfter LawyersandSettlements wrote about QTC Medical Services and its lawsuit involving Vietnam veterans’ disability cases and QTC reviewers inadequately reviewing their Agent Orange claims, the whistleblower in the lawsuit contacted us. “Under this federal contract, veterans’ claims were recklessly processed and as a result, they were denied disability benefits,” says David Vatan, a former QTC claims file analyst and doctor.

Dr. Vatan believes that QTC not only defrauded the federal government, but also scammed hundreds of thousands of veterans in the process. He says veterans were denied disability benefits because QTC reviewers were under pressure to review and process 160,000 claims in a short period of time.

QTC Medical Services - a Lockheed Martin company - is the biggest government contractor and has most of its contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs for Veterans Disability Examination. The QTC department in charge of the VA contract was called Nehmer and 20-25 employees, including Vatan, worked under this contract. The Nehmer contract was QTC’s first experience in manually reviewing veterans’ claims.

“They [reviewers] were not well prepared as they had no training, nor did they have any quality control in place,” says Vatan. “QTC pressured employees to review and process as many veterans as possible - and they were given bonuses per performance.” Vatan also said the medical providers [doctors] who countersigned each report signed up to 80 files in 2-3 hours a day they spent at QTC without reviewing those records.

Vatan’s complaint resulted in a threat of disciplinary action and termination if the minimum daily quota was not met. So he filed a Qui Tam suit with the Department of Justice. Vatan claims that QTC did not give its employees the necessary training to spot evidence of illnesses linked to Agent Orange and pressured employees to work at a pace that made it impossible to thoroughly review the file.

In a statement to McClatchy, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said, “This lawsuit raises a number of serious questions... Every veteran’s VA claim deserves a thorough and objective review. Our investigation will continue until we are satisfied that’s the case in this situation.”

But the lawsuit brought by Vatan against QTC was dismissed because Vatan didn’t know the terms of the contract.

Vatan and his attorney are appealing this lawsuit and it is currently at the pleading stage. “We are confident that we can articulate what the trial court got wrong in its case,” says attorney Robert Sherlock at Eisenberg, Gilchrist & Cutt (EGC Legal), Salt Lake City.

“The court said that Vatan didn’t have the underlying contract. In any large entity such as QTC, there is a compartmentalization of functions, so one person working in one segment may not have the entire contract,” says Sherlock. “The more compartmentalized the entity, the less likely it is that one person will have that information.”

The court said that David Vatan doesn’t have the contract so he cannot describe what that contract is. In other words, the court says that, if you don’t have a contract, you cannot say what you do...

At the pleading stage the court is legally required to accept allegations as true and must give the plaintiff, David Vatan, the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the evidence that is pled. “We have the guide for QTC produced by the VA that says what QTC can do,” adds Sherlock. So the case is on appeal and a briefing schedule is set for the end of August. And there are a number of organizations, including VA supporters, who will request permission to file Amicus Curiae, which literally means friend of the court.

“The Court has the discretion to allow a reputable organization, if it has something to say that is trying to help [nearly 250,000] veterans,” Sherlock explains. “The parties at the end of this chain of events are the veterans; we believe these ‘friends’ have a vested interest in making sure the veterans get a fair and honest shake.”

Sherlock believes their case will be successful on appeal “and the issues of law will be clarified.”

David Vatan said in an e-mail to LawyersandSettlements that QTC’s attorney offered him a settlement - they want this case to go away. “For me this is a matter of principle. I believe I have an ethical and moral obligation to notify veterans about QTC and its handling of our nation’s veterans claims for disability. I believe the work that QTC is doing - or has completed - for our veterans has no value whatsoever to taxpayers and veterans.

My final word of advice to our veterans is to stay away from QTC. Refuse to engage in any of their services and ask our federal government and the VA to provide you with a more reliable alternative.”

The case is United States of America et al v. QTC Medical Services, Inc. et al, Federal Civil Lawsuit California Central District Court, Case No. 2:14-cv-08961.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I was granted service connected in 1994 for spinal disc disease with C5-6 Left shoulder Radiculopathy. I was never applied the rating for the shoulder. Also mention in the I was also to be rated for the arm as well. I was denied for the left leg even though all of y service record are for left neck, left shoulder, left leg. I have a neurologist and he is trying to get to the bottom of this. I had the EMG and both legs has Radiculopathy, and neurological disorder. I will have the study for the upper body on next week. I fell because of the IVD with now paralysis of the right last year 8/7/2015 and the shoulder and arm are still pending surgery. VA never asked to examine my arm, shoulder and now they are trying to refer me out to the choice program because I turned the VA in to Washington Mr. Robert McDonald and I will keep reporting until justice is done.

Posted by

on
I believe I just had this experience. I received a notice from the VA that my PTSD rating was being reduced. The first thing I thought was that whoever looked at the C&P exam had no idea what they were looking at. I have filed a FOIA to get my files. I want to see if these QTC people were involved.

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