Only 72 of the 99 sampled cases involved claims for alleged radiogenic service-connected diseases.
It should be noted that some veterans who filed claims for compensation would not have been entered into SAIC’s database. There are two reasons for this. First, if a claim was filed for a disease that the VA adjudicator considered not to be radiogenic, it might be denied as having no merit, without consideration of dose. Second, if the unit-based dose of record at the time the claim was considered was determined to be very low and there was no indication in the record that the veteran had engaged in any unusual activities that might have increased the potential for radiation exposure, VA might have denied the claim on the basis of a low unit-based dose without requesting an individualized dose reconstruction.
At the time of sampling, in October 2001, the database that was provided to the committee by SAIC contained 3,725 veterans and their assigned doses. To ensure that we had adequate numbers of veterans with a high potential for significant radiation exposure, we carried out a stratified random sampling, sampling at random 66 veterans from the subset of those with an assigned dose of at least 1 rem and 33 from the larger group with a lower assigned dose. The committee thus oversampled veterans whose dose reconstructions may have required a relatively complex approach, and this offered a diverse set of examples for the committee to learn about how scenarios with potential for significant exposure were handled by the dose reconstruction analysts. The weighting also provided greater numbers of veterans who would have had a relatively high potential for radiation exposure and whose exposure may therefore have been high enough for errors in dose assignment to have influenced the compensation-adjudication process. Within each of the two dose-assignment-based strata, selection was based on computer generation of random numbers.
Throughout the course of its work, the committee interacted with DTRA, VA, and atomic veterans. That aspect of our work was important in seeking to answer questions raised and to understand the issues involved. Although interactions with DTRA and VA were essential to obtaining the information needed to fulfill its charge, it was also important to understand the concerns of the veterans, as summarized in Section I.D, and to seek information from them regarding such matters as communication related to the dose reconstruction program and the overall disposition of claims. We found the veterans eager to assist us. In particular, they seemed to be supportive of our study, interested in learning more about the dose reconstruction process, and curious about a number of questions they hoped the committee would be able to answer.
Veterans were invited on several occasions to speak to the committee at its meetings. Such interaction provided a formal, yet open exchange of ideas, ques-