Both contracted and VA conducted compensation and pension (C&P) examinations will be included in the reopening.
The 20 locations in 19 states will open to in-person examinations “within the next few weeks,” and VA will begin contacting affected veterans immediately, officials said in a press release.
"Resuming C&P exams allows VA to continue delivering the benefits our veterans have earned," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. "We're keeping the safety of veterans and our medical providers as our highest priority and have put a robust set of measures in place to ensure medical providers can safely conduct these examinations."
Most veterans attending an in-person examination at reopened medical centers will be required to observe enhanced safety measures including the wearing of face masks and social distancing, the release said. VA centers will provide face masks to veterans who do not have one of their own. Veterans will also be screened for symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19 before being admitted to the medical facility.
Veterans who reside outside of the reopened medical centers' service areas will continue to have their disability examinations conducted via virtual means or examination of existing clinical evidence, they said.
Those veterans who live in an area which is resuming in-person examinations and do not feel comfortable attending an in-person exam may opt to schedule their exam for a later date without impact to their disability claim.
No final action will be taken on a claim while a required in-person exam is pending.
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