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Letter: VA ineptitude


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I write regarding recent opinion pieces that disparately portrayed Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith.

This disabled veteran, 82, found him inept: I had contacted my U.S. senator regarding undisclosed “adverse events” during cancer care at White River Junction (WJC) VA Medical Center and referral, at my expense, to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for corrective surgery and radiation therapy.

My senator’s inquiry went to Dr. Mayo-Smith. He tasked former Manchester VAMC director Dr. Marc Levenson to investigate. (Dr. Marc Levenson, not Dr. Stewart Levenson.)

Dr. Marc Levenson reported he reviewed (only) a seven-month tranche of my WRJ VAMC medical records (my care spanned 13 months), and found no adverse events that my provider needed to disclose.

He added, if I felt I had been injured, to file a VA 1151 disability claim; that if I still had concerns, to contact his chief of staff.

I wrote him a rebuttal, cc’d to his chief of staff, and to Dr. Mayo-Smith. I told Dr. Levenson my VA file showed I had already filed a VA 1151 claim and that I had prevailed. I asked him for a new review. Neither he nor his chief of staff replied.

Dr. Mayo-Smith replied, but only with a non sequitur: “Please review Dr. Levenson’s response letter . . . as it contains clear directions of the next steps (e.g., filing a VA 1151 disability claim), if you would like to pursue this matter.”

I wrote Dr. Mayo-Smith, and asked him to help me recoup my DHMC expenses, and lost benefits, by nominating me for Equitable Relief. He never replied.

FRANK GIACOBBI

Burlington, Vt.