7 Investigates: National veterans’ organization sues VA secretary over emergency bills loophole

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WASHINGTON, D.C (WSAW) -- Two weeks after 7 Investigates exposed a new loophole leaving veterans across the nation liable to pay their own emergency room bills, the National Veterans Legal Services Program has filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims against the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie.

The suit, filed on behalf of U.S. Coast Guard Veteran Amanda Wolfe, claims the VA is failing to comply with the Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2010, which ordered the VA secretary to cover emergency medical bills veterans are "personally liable" for.
In Sept. 2016 Wolfe, who served for six years, with postings in Washington and Michigan, as well as, service during Hurricane Katrina response and recovery, was experiencing abdominal pain. Since her nearest VA hospital was three hours away from her Illinois home, she drove herself to the closest non-VA emergency room and underwent an emergency appendectomy.

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Hundreds of thousands of veterans could be eligible for sizeable reimbursements of unpaid medical bills if a new class-action lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs is successful.
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