Every year, Mainers encounter life-changing civil legal problems they can’t resolve. Because of legal and systemic complexities, many seniors, veterans and low-income Mainers find themselves denied health care benefits when they need them most. Dexter Gagne is a disabled Maine veteran that experienced this firsthand. In the fall of 2019 he needed shoulder replacement surgery, which he anticipated his hard-earned benefits would cover.  
Dexter was prepped for the surgery at Maine’s VA hospital, Togus. As his procedure date approached, he was contacted by the hospital to reschedule, since a pre-surgery swab had determined the facility was contaminated. Anxious that he needed the surgery done as soon as possible, Dexter requested permission to move the procedure outside of the VA. His request was approved.  
A few days after Dexter’s surgery, he experienced alarming symptoms related to the surgery and needed to go to the emergency room. Despite the fact that Dexter’s VA authorization provided coverage for follow-up services related to the surgery, the VA would not cover the cost of his emergency room visit. Dexter received a hefty bill. He knew his benefits should cover the cost, but he couldn’t get anywhere with the VA.  
Months went by. In that time, the debt was simultaneously destroying Dexter’s credit, and causing so much stress that high blood pressure had become a significant health problem.  
Frustrated, Dexter knew he needed help. Dexter had received legal assistance from Dylan Maeby in the past, a staff attorney in Pine Tree’s Medical-Legal Partnership for Veterans at Togus, so he gave him a call. Attorney Maeby investigated Dexter’s situation and contacted the local and national offices of the VA multiple times. When he was met with resistance, he contacted the office of Senator Susan Collins.   
Ultimately, attorney Maeby was able to determine that a provider coding error had caused the issue. Unfortunately, this is a common issue. Attorney Maeby worked with Dexter to have the bills resubmitted to the correct office and they were approved for payment by the VA.  

Dylan Maeby 
Staff Attorney - Veterans Unit, Augusta  
5 Years at Pine Tree
Maine Law 

Where is your favorite place in Maine? 
Tumbledown Mountain 
What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of work? 
Playing softball, growing vegetables and crossword puzzles! 

What is your most memorable case while working at Pine Tree? 
My most memorable cases are the Discharge Upgrades I have worked on. These cases are both time intensive and extremely challenging to win but when we are successful, the impact on the veteran is huge. 

Why did you want to work at Pine Tree? What brought you to Pine Tree and what did you do before? 
From the time I entered law school, I knew I wanted to work for Pine Tree. So much so, that I interned here each of my first two summers in law school. Before PTLA and law school, I worked at the Providence Children's Museum bringing STEM education to local afterschool programs. I loved the work, but watched as children who excelled in our program would suddenly stop showing up, only to later find out that their family had lost housing. I went to law school so I could help families facing similar challenges stay in their homes.  

What is your favorite board game? 
Code Names, Splendor, Ticket to Ride 

If you could pick one song to play every time you enter a room, what would it be? 
Anything by Voices of Creation (a shameless plug for my dad's band!) 

Moosey is an adorable stuffed animal who travels our great state and visits interesting places. Can you guess where Moosey was this month? Check out our Facebook page and Instagram for more pictures and fascinating facts from Moosey’s adventures. 
This month, Moosey visited Togus, the oldest veterans' facility in the country, operating since 1866. The Togus campus is over 500 acres of buildings and natural woodlands, home to many of Maine's wildlife. The VA medical center continues to serve thousands of veterans every year through a variety of health care services, including surgical, psychiatric, dental, extended care, and more.

Can you guess where in Maine is Moosey? 
Check out our Facebook and Instagram page for more updates on Moosey throughout the month!
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Pine Tree Legal Assistance is a non-profit, is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated on June 14, 1966. Our tax ID number is 01-02 79387. Pine Tree Legal Assistance is funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”). As a condition of the funding received from LSC, Pine Tree Legal Assistance is restricted in certain activities in all of its legal work, including work supported by other funding sources. Pine Tree Legal Assistance may not expend any funds for any activity prohibited by the Legal Services Corporation Act, 42 U.S.C §2996 et. seq. or by Public Law 104-134. Public Law 104—234 §504(d) required that notice of these restrictions be given to all funders or programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation. For a copy of these laws or any further information, please contact: Executive Director, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, PO Box 547, Portland, Maine 04112; Tel. 207-774-4753.