Monday, August 30, 2010
Final Rules on Agent Orange New Presumptive Diseases Will be Published August 31, 2010
The Department of Veterans Affairs has sent the final rules to add three new diseases to the list presumptive service connected for exposure to “Agent Orange”. Parkinson’s, B-cell leukemias, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) are in the final rules which will be published in the August 31, 2010 edition of the Federal Register.
The effective date of the rules will be the publication date which is scheduled for tomorrow. VA however cannot start paying benefits under the rules for 60 days because these are major rules subject to the 60 day stay provided for in the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
On Parkinson’s disease, the rules point out that only Parkinson’s disease is covered and does not include other parkinsonian syndromes and/or parkinsonism.
On IHD the rules state:
“As previously stated, VA interprets IHD, for purposes of service connection, to encompass any atherosclerotic heart disease resulting in clinically significant ischemia or requiring coronary revascularization. In the notice of proposed rulemaking, we explained that the term “ischemic heart disease” does not encompass hypertension or peripheral manifestations of arteriosclerotic heart disease, such as peripheral vascular disease or stroke. To ensure that lay readers are aware of the distinction between these diseases, we are adding a Note 3 following 38 CFR 3.309(e) to include the information stated in the notice of proposed rulemaking. (4) Inclusion of Angina as a Compensable Disability. One commenter asked whether the rule will include Prinzmetal’s Angina, and Stable and Unstable Angina in the list of compensable disabilities. 13 VA Response: Prinzmetal’s Angina, and Stable and Unstable Angina are explicitly included as forms of IHD in the list of illnesses that may be presumptively service connected due to exposure to certain herbicides. 75 FR 14393.”
The rule adds all chronic B-cell leukemias (including, but not limited to, hairy-cell leukemia).