Military Disability Fraud

We all respect out military veterans.  Sometimes out of respect we let things go and fear talking about issues that are blatantly disgusting.  For example, the number of veterans getting disability is climbing sky high now.  Why?  It’s taboo to question these men and women.  People don’t want to be disrespectful.  The problem is when it gets out of hand and some of that is happening right now.  It sure is happening in the civilian population.  Who can really prove head trauma?  Who can prove PTSD?   The above video is just one example that has massive repercussions.  Check out how this one dude,  Braulio Castillo, who cited his foot injury, suffered at a military prep school, as the basis for his IT company’s application for special status as a “service-disabled veteran-owned small business.”  In a letter to a government official, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) (in the video) reads aloud what her wrote and points out his bullshit:

My family and I have made considerable sacrifices for my country.  My service connected disability status should serve as a testimony to that end.  I can’t play with my kids because I can’t walk without pain.  I take twice daily pain medication so I can work a normal day’s work.  These are crosses that I bear due to my service to my country and I would do it again to protect this great country.

DUCKWORTH RESPONDS: I am so glad you would play football again in prep school to protect this great country.

By the way, this scam by Castillo allowed his company, Strong Castle, to win contracts over a six-month period with the Internal Revenue Service worth as much as $500 million because some idiot doctor gave his ankle injury a 30% disability rating!   This is the next wave of fraud to hit our country and as much as we care for the men and women of the armed services, we still need to be diligent in weeding out those who want to abuse the system.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  10 comments for “Military Disability Fraud

  1. Dr Bonz
    July 15, 2013 at 6:58 pm
  2. Aaron
    July 14, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I served 12 years as a physician in the Air Force, 7 of them on active duty, and even served a deployment to Iraq.

    I consider myself fortunate to have made it through my time of service with no significant medical issues. Many of the troops I worked with in Iraq were not so lucky.

    When it came time to meet with my VA representative as part of my voluntary separation process, I was asked multiple times if I had any medical issues that warranted disability. I told the gentleman over and over that I considered myself very healthy and that I didn’t have any significant injuries or illnesses to which he continued to ask if there was even anything minor in my history that would be “rateable.” I found this to be worrisome.

    Maybe if I had told him that I have some minor pains in my knees that may have been related to walking on the hard ground of Iraq or that my lower back hurts from time to time which may have been related to transporting patients I would have been able to receive a disability rating. He even went as far as to tell me that my home state would give free tuition to my children if I had a rating as low as 10 percent.

    I found this to be offensive toward the men and women who are truly disabled. As a physician, I saw many service members who sat in a chair for the past 20 years who went all-out to try to get a disability rating upon their retirement. Many of them managed to scam the system, especially getting a rating for obstructive sleep apnea which was clearly related to the fact that they were 30 pounds overweight.

    It would be nice to see a review of the system and real reform so that those who are deserving are taken care of.

  3. Pat
    July 11, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Bravo for Rep. Duckworth! That said, why are there such huge contracts up for bid with the IRS? And why should tax or contract differences be awarded on the basis of disability? Would Rep Duckworth’s favor curtailing the IRS, and reversing any of the ocean of regulations that lead to arbitrary preferences? That Castillo is an obvious scumbag does not obscure the fact that Duckworth’s wanted some set-piece theater, that might bypass addressing what make disability so potentially lucrative.

  4. July 11, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Mr. Castillo should be embarassed to look at himself in the mirror. What a sham! Military disability, a football injury?!! I have taken care of our troops that have had extremities traumatically amputated by IEDs, this guy should be brought up on charges of fraud. I don’t think Rep. Duckworth gave him a hard enough time. Castillo is a poor excuse for a human being.

  5. Dave Mittman, PA
    July 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    As a PA, a former AF medic, and the first PA in the USAF Reserves, I could not agree with Doug more. People who deserve disability should get it. There are now disability coaches who “coach” people to the right lawyers and how to fill out the forms correctly.
    One thing we can all do is really be truthful in our medical/psych exams and document what we see. We need to also know the implications of sending people into harms way for 3, 4 and 5 shifts which will ultimately not be handled well.
    Dave

  6. Chris Rhody D.O.
    July 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Perhaps if we all used a published standard to determine disability. There actually is such a thing. From AMA press of all places. In my area, it appears I am the only one that uses it. I have crumpled the careers of a few idiots who present themselves as disability experts but have no idea there is a published standard. Just for your info: “Guides to the evaluation of permanent impairment”, from AMA press. I use the fifth edition (believe it is the latest). Mind numbing to read but easy to consistently arrive at the same result across different providers. It has tables and work sheets and makes it very easy to prepare a written report.

    • arf
      July 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      You’re talking about the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (“Guides”)

      Chris…..Sixth Edition is the latest.

      I think it’s fair to say fifth is the most widely used.

      Often times, it doesn’t matter, in that what matters is what that particular system SAYS is the standard. Sometimes the fourth edition, now two editions old, is still used. The Fifth Edition, I’d say is most commonly used these days.

      Some systems are right on the ball, and have already adopted the Sixth Edition.

      Sometimes the system has it’s own unique system.

      Washington State, as an example, their Worker’s Comp is a hybrid, sometimes they use the Fifth Edition of the Guides, but for certain medical conditions, they have their own State-specific set of rules.

      So…..great to be on top of the latest edition of the Guides, but if you’re working in a State, or within a system, that recognizes the Fourth Edition BY LAW…….or has their own system for you to follow, you have to use that system.

      It’s been a while since last I read the history of the Guides, but as I recall, “The AMA press of all places” is because the AMA was asked to come up with a system, a consensus generally agreed upon, because of a patchwork of systems to rate impairment.

      Check out the Guides Newsletter, if you have not already done so. Because even with the Guides, there is still a lot of room for interpretation, and different examiners can still come up with different ratings, even using the same system.

      But….it’s better than what it had been in the past.

  7. Ex-Grunt
    July 10, 2013 at 9:48 am

    During 11 months combat duty, I slept in ground sprayed by Agent Orange. Ten years after coming home, I needed open heart surgery for an aneuryism “the size of a fist.” Around the same time, 4 members of my unit were diagnosed with cancer of the internal organs; one case was fatal. None of us receives a disability pension! We are well aware of the waste, fraud, and abuse in the system! Rx–(1) separate “service connected” from “combat related”. Currently, to fall off a truck in California is the same as taking a bullet in Kabul! (2) prompt the Inspector
    General to investiate “lifers” who manage to get a rating of 30% disabled just before they retire, thus becoming eligible for special benefits; (3) change the system to reward resiliency, not victimhood! To keep a pension for PTSD, for example, one must remain helpless, take meds, and not get well (because getting better demonstrates you no longer need the pension!)
    (4) provide male hormone injections to all members of Congress so they will have the courage to send their children to Afghanistan and to stand up to the self-serving military cabal.

  8. Princess of Problem Patients
    July 10, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Duckworth’s service history compared to this guy… well, there’s no comparison, really. He got a 30% disability rating and Duckworth only got 20% for far worse? Amazing.

    “DUCKWORTH: You know my right arm was essentially blown off and reattached. I spent a year in limb salvage with over a dozen surgeries over that time period. And in fact we thought I would lose my arm, and I’m still in danger of possibly losing my arm. I can’t feel it, I can’t feel my three fingers. My disability rating for that arm is 20 percent.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/06/tammy-duckworths-impassioned-shaming-of-a-faux-disabled-vet/277282/

    • Ken
      July 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

      I like your pseudonym!

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