On December 12th, 2012 the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend VA adjudication regulations (38 CFR Part 3) by revising 38 CFR 3.310 to add five diagnosable illnesses as secondary conditions associated with service-connected traumatic brain injury (TBI) such as Parkinson’s disease, unprovoked seizures, hormone deficiency diseases, dementia, and depression. The scientific bases for the rule making are based on the National Academy of Science IOM report, Gulf War and Health Volume 7: Long-Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury, in which the IOM concluded there was “sufficient evidence of a causal relationship” (the IOM’s highest evidentiary standard) between moderate or severe levels of TBI and diagnosed unprovoked seizures. The IOM found “sufficient evidence of an association” between moderate or severe levels of TBI and parkinsonism, dementias (which VA understands to include presenile dementia of the Alzheimer type and post-traumatic dementia), depression (which also was associated with mild TBI), and diseases of hormone deficiency that may result from hypothalamo-pituitary changes. The intended effect of the amendment is to establish that if a veteran who has service-connected TBI also has one of the five diagnosable illnesses, then that illness will be considered-service connected as secondary to the TBI.
The public can comment on this proposed article through February 8th, 2013. To read the article and/or to submit a comment, please visit http://tinyurl.com/aw5snav. Written comments may be submitted through www.Regulations.gov, by fax at 202/273-9026 by mail or hand-delivery to:
Director, Regulations Management (02REG)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave. NW., Room 1068
Washington, DC 20420
Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to “RIN 2900-AN89—Secondary Service Connection for Diagnosable Illnesses Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury.”
Copies of comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and Management by appointment 202/461-4902, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Additionally, during the comment period comments may be viewed online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at www.Regulations.gov.