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Baldwin Successfully Pushes VA to Pay Earned Benefits to Up to 650 Veterans After Doctor Misdiagnosed Conditions

Baldwin has been advocating for new exams, proper compensation, and an investigation into doctor for 2 years

WISCONSIN – After working for years with veterans whose neurological conditions were misdiagnosed by a doctor at the Tomah VA Medical Center and subsequently denied compensation and benefits, Senator Tammy Baldwin successfully pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide these impacted veterans their earned benefits. Earlier this year, Senator Baldwin announced that she successfully got the VA to identify and reexamine veterans who could have been misdiagnosed by Dr. Mary Jo Lanska, MD. The VA is using these exams to readjudicate the original claims filed by these Veterans, meaning that they will not have to file a new claim and they could be eligible for years of benefits backdated to their original effective date. Additionally, for Veterans who have passed away since the original exam, the VA will contact their survivors to initiate the readjudication process and provide benefits accordingly.

Since the June announcement, the VA reviewed 941 Veterans’ exams performed by Dr. Lanska and found that 649 Veterans may have been negatively impacted by Dr. Lanska’s exams, making them eligible for a new exam and benefits.

“Our veterans and their families have made great sacrifices to serve us, and it is our responsibility to take care of them when they come back home. Sadly, we came up short on our end of the deal and many Wisconsin veterans were denied the care and benefits that they earned serving us. But today, we helped right that wrong. After years of working alongside our veterans, hundreds of Wisconsinites who have been wronged by the VA will now be able to get the benefits that they have long been owed,” said Senator Baldwin.

Since 2021, Senator Baldwin has been working with multiple Wisconsin veterans who reported that their traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other conditions were misdiagnosed by Dr. Lanska. Senator Baldwin had been calling on the VA to investigate the pattern of misdiagnoses, ensure misdiagnosed veterans get a new exam, and get the veterans the proper compensation and benefits they deserve.

In May 2023, Dr. Mary Jo Lanska, MD, was terminated from the Tomah VA.

In a March meeting, Senator Baldwin pressed VA Secretary Denis McDonough to investigate the pattern of misdiagnosis and shared the Wisconsin veterans’ concerns. In August 2022, Senators Baldwin and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a letter to Secretary McDonough highlighting their concerns about TBI misdiagnosis at the Tomah VA and pushing for answers about the process for veterans who may have been improperly diagnosed and not receiving the benefits they deserve. After hearing from additional veterans, in September 2022, Senator Baldwin called on the VA to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the practices of this doctor to determine whether there is a broader pattern of her misdiagnosing patients’ neurological disorders that are preventing veterans from receiving care or benefits they earned.