VA Expands Medical Forms Program to Support Faster Claims Processing


WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today the release of 68 new forms that will help speed the processing of Veterans’ disability compensation and pension claims.

“VA employees will be able to more quickly process disability claims, since disability benefits questionnaires capture important medical information needed to accurately evaluate Veterans’ claims,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Disability benefits questionnaires are just one of many changes VA is implementing to address the backlog of claims.”

The new forms bring to 71 the number of documents, called disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs), that guide physicians’ reports of medical findings, ensuring VA has exactly the medical information needed to make a prompt decision.

When needed to decide a disability claim for compensation or pension benefits, VA provides Veterans with free medical examinations for the purpose of gathering the necessary medical evidence.

Veterans who choose to have their private physicians complete the medical examination can now give their physicians the same form a VA provider would use. It is very important that physicians provide complete responses to all questions on the DBQs. VA cannot pay for a private physician to complete DBQs or for any costs associated with examination or testing.

“By ensuring relevant medical information can be found on one form, we will cut processing time while improving quality,” added Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.

DBQ’s can be found at The newly released DBQs follow the initial release of three DBQs for Agent Orange-related conditions.Знакомства

Veterans may file a claim online through the eBenefits web portal at The Department of Defense and VA jointly developed the eBenefits portal as a single secure point of access for online benefit information and tools to perform multiple self-service functions such as checking the status of their claim.

Servicemembers may enroll in eBenefits using their Common Access Card at any time during their military service, or before they leave during their Transition Assistance Program briefings. Veterans may also enroll in eBenefits and obtain a Premium account in-person or online depending on their status.

Bentek predicts Eagle Ford Shale production will climb significantly. see here eagle ford shale

Natural Gas Week April 25, 2011 | Seeley, Rachael Oil production from the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas is on track to increase five-fold to average 421,000 barrels per day in 2015 compared to just 71,000 barrels per day in 2010, according to research compiled by Bentek Energy.

The emerging shale play has been a hot bed of industry activity in the past year, as gas-focused US exploration and production firms turn to plays rich in oil and natural gas liquids in light of a weak US gas market.

The Eagle Ford Shale stretches across a large area of southwest Texas and comprises three distinct “windows.” Production from the north is mostly oil, production from the south is primarily dry gas and the section in-between is a mixture of both, flowing “wet gas” that is rich in liquids.

In a Market Alert on the Eagle Ford play, Bentek also projects that output of natural gas liquids and dry gas will rise sharply in the years to come. “We are projecting that dry natural gas production, mostly located in the southern portion of the Eagle Ford, will increase from 1.4 billion cubic feet per day to more than 3.5 Bcf/d by 2014,” said Managing Director Rusty Braziel.

Production of NGLs is seen growing to almost 260,000 b/d in 2014, from 103,000 b/d last year.

Key to the ramp-up is the availability of existing pipeline and midstream infrastructure in South Texas, advancements in horizontal drilling and completion techniques, and strong oil prices (NGW Sep.20,p8).

Legacy South Texas infrastructure has enabled production to ramp-up quickly. Bentek points out that production is near multiple pipelines, and other infrastructure like natural gas processing and fractionation plants–which are needed to extract the liquids from wet gas. The play also lies within close proximity to key refining markets along the US Gulf Coast. go to website eagle ford shale

While existing infrastructure will support initial growth, substantial investments in new infrastructure are set to support continued expansion, Bentek said.

“About 2.4 Bcf/d of gas gathering and transmission, 350,000 b/d of fractionation capacity and nearly 600,000 b/d of oil pipeline capacity is planned for development in the Eagle Ford before the end of 2012,” Bentek said.

Bentek says the Eagle Ford is the fourth most active play in the US. Information compiled separately by RigData and Tudor Pickering Holt showed 156 rigs at work in the play last week, up from 61 rigs in the second quarter of 2010, and 15 in the second quarter of 2009.

Producers and investment dollars are flocking to the play, which started to draw public attention just under three years ago (NGW Oct.27’08,p2).

“There are multiple, rapidly growing unconventional oil and gas plays across the US, but the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas stands above the crowd because of its heavy liquids content, sprawling existing and proposed infrastructure, high initial oil production rates and proximity to some of the largest energy markets in North America,” Bentek said.

EOG Chief Executive Mark Papa called the Eagle Ford Shale the hottest oil play in North America at an investment conference last month, adding that EOG is seeing internal rates of return there of 65% to 110% after taxes.

The play has piqued the interest of Asian investors, with China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Korea National Oil Corp. each agreeing to pay more than $1 billion to take a stakes in the play though joint venture partnerships with Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko Petroleum, respectively. (NGW Mar.28,p5).

US minnows Forest Oil and SM Energy are actively shopping for partners in the play, and SM has noted significant interest from international investors in its data room. EOG and El Paso, meanwhile, say the upside to the play is so significant that they will pursue development on their own so they can keep all of the upside. El Paso called off its search for a joint venture partner this month (NGW Apr.18,p7).

Rachael Seeley, Houston Seeley, Rachael


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