Thursday, May 12, 2016

Whistleblower and Attorney Appeal QTC and Veterans’ Agent Orange Cases

Norfolk, VA After 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.”

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