VA apologizes for its ban on cellphones

 In opinion, Veterans

The VA published leaflets telling veterans that if they brought their iPhone to an appointment, their exam would automatically be canceled. On Wednesday they apologized.

 ban on cellphones

The VA’s ban on cellphones

The VA called it an “ill-advised” leaflet on Wednesday. “Ill-advised” is a complete understatement. The knife and the  gun are no-brainers- bringing them to an exam we understand would be bad. But a cellphone? Or was it just an iPhone? Why would they issue a ban on cellphones?

The flyers were included in appointment packets sent to veterans at certain VA facilities.

The blog “Disabled Veterans” wrote,

Based on the photo, does this mean iPhone or all cell phones are “prohibited”? Does that also include banning the well-known “Obama Phone”? I wonder if they called the White House before running this one up the flagpole?

Ten-year-olds across the country can bring a backpack and iPhone wherever they want… but a disabled veteran will need to leave her medications, records and iPhone in the car before reporting to her traumatic brain injury (TBI) exam?

According to the leaflet, veterans who show up with an iPhone (or presumably other cell phone types) will be denied due process rights including a disability examination, according to the leaflet.

The leaflet does not explain what to do if the veteran is prescribed use of an iPhone or backpack as an accommodative device that helps the disabled veteran with a disability.

A poor policy decision

The leaflets were included in Veterans’ Compensation and Pension (C&P) appointment letters at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System’s (ECHCS) Golden community. The VA reported that it would “immediately discontinue” the flyers, calling them “ill-advised.”

Whoever implemented this policy should  have been fired on the spot. The VA already has the worst reputation of any medical group in the nation, but to add the idea that a cellphone would result in the cancellation of an exam is ridiculous.

A spokesman for the VA issued a statement that apologized, and said that no veteran would have their exam canceled if they brought a cellphone to the appointment.


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