Local vets are getting letters saying VA may restrict their care. This what the VA Secretary says

ATLANTA — Some metro Atlanta veterans are receiving letters from the Department of Veterans Affairs warning that the VA “may impose restrictions with your care” as a result of “inappropriate communication.”

The letters are based on decisions handed down by a VA Disruptive Behavior Committee that meets without informing the veteran, without input from the veteran or without ever informing the veteran specifically what they are alleged to have done wrong.

“It’s out and out a threat from an organization that doesn’t tell you who they are, what they’re made of. You have no ability to stand in front and ask what you’re being accused of,” said American Legion Service Officer Jim Lindenmayer.

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Navy veteran Sherman Howard told Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray he hasn’t gone to the VA for any treatment since receiving a letter.

“I will not step on the federal property when I am being threatened,” Howard said.

Vietnam-era Air Force veteran Patricia Edwards said her letter came after pushing for 2 years for the proper treatment for her failing health.

“Why are they doing this to us? They’re supposed to be taking care of us,” Edwards said.

The letters reference a federal regulation allowing VA to “restrict the time, place and manner of medical care to veterans who are disruptive or pose a risk of disruptive behavior.”


“I have anxiety. I speak loud when I’m passionate. That can be considered disruptive. I can look at you wrong, that’s considered disruptive. I can contradict you. That’s considered disruptive. On and on and on,” Howard said.

“It’s basically, you did something that we didn’t like. We’re going to shut down your ability to get your mental health care. We’re going to prevent you from getting care that you deserve and have earned,” Lindenmayer said.

Gray caught up with US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough at a renaming ceremony of the Atlanta VA Medical Center in honor of the late Sen. Max Cleland.

“Are you worried letters like this could keep them from seeking help when they need it here at the VA?” Gray asked.

McDonough pledged that no veteran would be turned away regardless of any letters or disruptive behavior.

“Under no circumstances will we deny a veteran access to care. It is true that we always follow certain protocols to ensure the safety of all veterans and all caregivers,” McDonough said.

VA Press Secretary Terrance Hayes reiterated that position in an email to Gray.

“We do not deny healthcare to any Veteran for disruptive behavior,” Hayes said.