VA may have to pay billions in vets' emergency care bills

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, file photo, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Demand for answers escalated as federal officials promised Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, to conduct a sweeping investigation into suspicious deaths at Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, W.Va.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government may be required to pay billions of dollars in emergency care claims to veterans after a federal court ruled this week that the Department of Veterans Affairs improperly denied reimbursements for such care received at non-VA facilities.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims said federal law mandated the VA to pay the emergency medical expenses if they are not covered by private insurance.

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