RAYMORE, Mo. -- Jocelyn Janes is living proof that Agent Orange, the chemical sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam, did more than expose American soldiers to harm. It also affected their children.Janes, 34, is one of an estimated 8,000 children of Vietnam veterans born with spina bifida. Her father served there as a Marine.
“It was discovered that spina bifida was the most frequent birth defect among Vietnam veterans' (children),” said Donna Wallis, Jocelyn’s mom.
So many children were born with the defect that in 1966 Congress passed legislation guaranteeing those children health care for life through the Veterans Administration.
That law has been a lifesaver for Jocelyn, paying for dozens of surgeries and home health care -- until now.
For the last four months, Wallis has been fighting with the VA to pay for her daughter’s care, which is now needed around the clock.
“They don't understand their own policies,” said Wallis, referring to the VA’s spina bifida claims office in Denver.
The VA’s own regulations states that 24/7 care is available for spina bifida patients who have a doctor’s authorization. Because Jocelyn has that, the VA promised she would receive the benefit.
“We started the paperwork very early in 2018,” Wallis said.
A home health company called BrightStar Care begin providing round-the-clock services for Jocelyn in May. But four months later, the VA hasn’t cut a single check to reimburse BrightStar for more than $100,000 in services.