VA Adds New Conditions to Presumptive List, Including Male Breast Cancer

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced it is adding three new types of cancer to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to military environmental exposure under the PACT Act.

The following types of cancer are now included in the list of presumptive diseases:

  • Male breast cancer
  • Urethral cancer
  • Cancer of the paraurethral glands

Presumptive service connection means the VA automatically assumes service connection for the disease and provides benefits to eligible veterans who have submitted claims with evidence of a diagnosis. It also allows veterans applying for benefits to skip paperwork establishing their condition as a result of military service, which can significantly reduce wait times during the benefits process.

Last month the VA granted its one millionth claim related to the PACT Act, and over that time frame has paid out more than $5.75 billion to veterans.

Read here for more information on these latest additions to the VA’s presumptive conditions list.

Hurt at work? Doug Williams explains why you should call an attorney.

The workers’ compensation process can feel overwhelming. But you don’t have to manage it on your own. If you have been hurt at work, make sure you have someone on your side who will help advocate for you.

Doug Williams, an Abes Baumann partner with more than 25 years of experience in workers’ compensation, helps ensure injured workers receive the benefits they are entitled to.


Frequently people call us and they’re not sure whether they need an attorney or not.

If a case is in litigation and it’s before a worker’s compensation judge, the insurance carrier is always going to have an experienced attorney that is representing the insurance carrier. So that’s one good reason to have an attorney.

You want someone that has the same base of knowledge or hopefully even a greater base of knowledge than does the attorney representing the insurance carrier.

Also the Worker’s Compensation Act and the Occupational Disease Act,
and the regulations that the Bureau of Workers Compensation has published.

Interpreting those acts are complicated.

If you print them out,
they come out to about 365 pages. it’s very, very difficult for a layperson to navigate that system and the complexities associated with it without an attorney.

New Year, New Priority: Your Veterans Benefit Claims


Life is busy, and we often put things on the back burner. However, it’s never too late to refocus and prioritize yourself.

If you or a family member have thought about filing claims for service-connected disabilities – benefits our nation’s veterans are entitled to – now is a great time to reset and start the process. 

Hello, My name is Jim Burn.

I’m a veteran attorney here at Abes Baumann, and I represent veterans Service Connected disabilities, making sure they get the benefits that they are entitled to for their honorable service to our country.

Today we’re standing in Millville Borough, where I live. I’ve lived here since 1972.

I had the honor to serve my borough. I served as mayor of Millville here for 12 years.

To this day, it’s been 30 years now. I am invited by the VFW Post 118, an American Legion, which is right across the street, invited to this doughboy on Memorial Day to say a few words about the sacrifices veterans have made so that we can all live in a blanket of freedom.

Those who served honorably, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice names on this placard and names on placards, and folks who rest eternally now in this nation and across the world.

Being a veteran attorney is not a job. Being a veteran attorney is a calling, a calling brings me here today at the beginning of 2024 to speak with all of
you about your New Year’s resolutions.

By the time we get to this late in January, many folks have forgotten their resolutions that they even made it.

And I’m sure many of you who have served and have talked about your claims or thought about filing claims, perhaps made a resolution to reach out, pick up the phone and speak to somebody who does veterans law about your claim, about about what their next best steps may be.

We are that firm. I am that person. Don’t break that resolution.

Pick up the phone and call us about your veteran claim. There’s no obligation. You have nothing to lose.

I guarantee we will give you some insight that you may not have had before you picked up that phone.

As we get into 2024, you’re probably seeing some articles or some flash news items or advertisements about perhaps some deadlines coming up with respect to PACT ACT and claims, please call us and we can talk about that with you as well.

Make a resolution. Now. Give us a call. We’ll talk through it.

Thank you for your honorable service to our country.

Abes Baumann Lawyers Earn Top Legal Recognition

We are proud to announce that Thomas Baumann has been named a 2023 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, and was ranked in the top 50 in the Pittsburgh region as part of a peer-influenced and research-driven selection process in recognition of his outstanding legal expertise. This honor means that Baumann, a top-rated Workers’ Compensation lawyer, is among the top five percent of attorneys in this specialty area in the state.

Tom and Abes Baumann partner Doug Williams were also recognized recently as Best Lawyers 2023, and our firm was ranked as a Tier 1 Law Firm in Pittsburgh.

Congratulations to Tom and Doug, whose expertise and tireless efforts have consistently garnered positive outcomes for our clients. 

At Abes Baumann we take tremendous pride in the accomplishments of our team, as they reflect our dedication to serving workers and veterans and delivering the highest standards of client service.

Thank you for entrusting us with your legal needs. We remain committed to guiding you through the legal process and providing you with the personalized attention you have come to expect from us. We are proud to represent you and help you get the benefits you deserve.

Pa. Commonwealth Court rules that workers’ comp should cover medical marijuana cost

HARRISBURG — Commonwealth Court has ruled that workers’ compensation should cover the cost of medical marijuana for treatment of injuries suffered on the job.

The court on Friday handed down two decisions in cases brought by workers who were hurt on the job and were initially prescribed opioids for treatment. But in both cases, the workers sought to get their cost of medical marijuana covered by workers’ compensation, asserting that the marijuana has been more effective in treating their pain.

In Teresa L. Fegley, as Executrix of the Estate of Paul Sheetz v. Firestone Tire and Rubber (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board), Sheetz had been injured at work in 1977, according to the opinion written by Judge Anne Covey. He underwent two back surgeries and over the years, he treated the pain with opioid and narcotics.

In 2019, “at the recommendation of his doctor,” he began using medical marijuana to deal with his back pain in the “hope of eliminating the need for the opiates and narcotics he had been taking for approximately 30 years. Medical marijuana afforded Claimant pain relief and reduced his need for the opiates and narcotics,” according to Judge Covey’s opinion. She added that Sheetz also reported that taking medical marijuana apparently provided psychological benefits and in 2019, he began seeking to have the cost of his medical marijuana covered by workers’ comp.

Sheetz died before the court made its decision and his estate continued the case.

In the case of Edward Appel v. GWC Warranty Corporation, Mr. Appel was injured at work in 2006 and was prescribed opioids for the pain. He obtained a medical marijuana card in April 2018 and by September of that year was able to “wean himself off all the opioid medications” despite suffering a “tremendous amount” of withdrawal during that process, according to a separate opinion also written by Judge Covey. In October 2018, he sought to get workers compensation to cover the cost of his medical marijuana.

In both cases, their claims were denied and the appeals board upheld those denials but Commonwealth Court’s decisions reversed the appeals boards’ decisions.

In the decisions, the court concluded that while the Medical Marijuana Law includes language specifically decreeing that insurance companies aren’t required to cover the cost of medical marijuana, it also includes language that medical marijuana patients should not be “denied any rights for lawful use of medical marijuana.”

As a result, the judges reasoned: “the General Assembly explicitly intended Commonwealth residents suffering from intractable pain to have the benefit of this therapy, and at the same time chose not to limit claimants from receiving their statutory rights.”

The judges also decreed that employers are not being ordered to break federal law because they are not being required to pay for the marijuana, but rather they would be reimbursing the patients for their medical costs.

Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon filed a dissenting opinion arguing that the law’s ban on requiring that insurers cover the cost of medical marijuana should be the deciding factor.

“Claimant argues that because the WC Act is to be liberally construed, the MMA should not be interpreted to preclude reimbursement that is otherwise required by the WC Act. The most obvious flaw in this argument is that prior to the enactment of the MMA, there was no legal medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, and therefore, no reimbursement was required for it under the WC Act.”

Judge Fizzano Cannon noted that the Legislature apparently didn’t require insurers to cover medical marijuana because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of the drug for any medical conditions.

“In any event, the legislature, not the courts, must effect any change in the MMA’s stated policy and the balance struck regarding insurance coverage,” she wrote.

First Published March 21, 2023, 12:56pm

The Reality of Injuries for Some Young Athletes/Professionals

The New York Times recently wrote about the dangers associated with professional football and the lack of benefits available to players who aren’t stars and who are not vested in the pension plan and other post-career benefits. Such players need state workers’ compensation benefits to help them through the trauma on the road to recovery or the next part of their lives.

We at Abes Baumann have been honored to serve on the NFLPA workers’ compensation panel for many years and we take satisfaction in helping injured workers from all walks of life, whether they are athletes, construction workers, nurse’s aides, or healthcare workers.


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