Asking Your VA Primary Care Doctor for a Favor
Did you get the deer and the headlight look? When you asked your VA primary care doctor to write you a Medical Nexus letter explaining your medical condition that he has been treating you for months? Or to complete a DBQ (Disability Benefits Questionnaire) for a disability claim you want to file? I think we all were given that look and fell into that awkward moment of silence with your doctor. I remember the first time I asked my VA doctor to write one up for me.
As I was building my service-connected medical case (secondary claim) for my bilateral plantar fasciitas, my VA primary doctor became very quiet. When I asked him, if he could do me a favor and write me a Nexus letter. He was all good and talking when I first walked into his examination room.
But all of a sudden silence entered then room. When I asked about writing me an IMO (independent medical opinion) and completing a DBQ VA Form 21-0960M-6 DBQ for “Foot Conditions, Including Flatfoot (Pes Planus) Disability Benefits Questionnaire”.
While he shuffled through the 9 pages of the DBQ, he gave me that look of frustration! He asked, if I have seen a podiatrist? I said its been 3 years since I’ve seen him last, but it should be in my medical records. Nowadays, doctors are more focused on their computer screens inputting our diagnosis, symptoms, & their medical findings. They rarely examine you physically unless they have the urge to put on their blue latex gloves.
During my appointments, I find myself more often just sitting in a chair to explain my medical issues. I notice doctors do more note taking on their computer than paying attention or treating & caring for their patient’s medical needs.
As I observed his eyes locked on his computer scrolling the screen, my VA doctor tells me that he does not see the last visit I had with podiatry in my medical file. So, he quickly orders & refers me to podiatry and says that they should be able to complete the paperwork (nexus letter & DBQ) for you.
He basically passed the buck and pushed it off to another doctor! After seeing him, I immediately logged into eBenefits.va.gov when I got home. I was able to pull my medical records within minutes. I found the exact day and time I had my last appointment with podiatry. My VA primary doctor lied to me because he simply was too lazy to do write me a Nexus letter!
We don’t do it here!
It was even worst when I asked my non-VA medical provider (Kaiser Permanente) to write me a Nexus letter and complete a DBQ for my condition. The podiatrist that treated me responded, “You can take your VA forms to the medical records department upstairs and have them complete it. We don’t do it here!”
I said, Really? He thought that I was that much of an idiot to believe that there is a doctor or medical licensed professional working in their medical records department. Who has the credentials and authorization to write me a nexus letter!
I hope someone from Kaiser Permanente‘s board of directors reads this post and makes changes to their policy. No offense, and I apologize to say that Kaiser Medical hires a lot of foreign doctors to be on their medical staff.
Perhaps the organization should give them a special class or provide training about giving some dignity & respect. With treating our US Military personnel and veterans who sacrificed their lives everyday to protect our air, land, & sea. So these foreign doctors can practice in America and enjoy their freedom & financial well-being!
VA Doctors Are Fully Aware of DBQs & Medical Nexus Letters
VA primary care doctors and specialty doctors are well aware of Disability Benefit Questionnaires (DBQs) and a Medical Nexus letters. They are just too lazy to complete it, pretending they know nothing about it, or simply just don’t want to help you.
According to the 2016 VHA Directive 1134(1), Provision of Medical Statements and Completion of Forms – VA Health Care Providers are required, when requested, to assist patients in completing VA and non-VA medical forms and to provide patients with medical statements with respect to their medical condition(s) and functionality.
I have searched and found licensed medical professionals and accredited attorneys who are willing to help veterans with their disability claims submission. But more importantly, they are able to help with Independent Medical Opinions (IMO), Medical Nexus Letters and DBQs. I have a compiled a list of medical professionals for you to contact.
*As a Disclaimer – VADCH is not affiliated nor endorses any of the providers, please use your own discretion as you may incur some cost. The VA does not cover any of the cost if you decide to hire someone outside the VA, nor does your medical insurance cover these private contractor’s cost.
What Type of Evidence Do I need to support my VA Disability Claim?
By Law this is the required evidence you will need to provide to support you disability claim.
- A current physical or mental disability from a medical professional or layperson (someone who’s not a trained professional), and
- An event, injury, or disease that happened during your active-duty service, and
- A link (Nexus Letter) between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease that happened during your service. Usually the VA will need medical records or medical opinions from health care providers to support this link.
Why is important to obtain a Medical Nexus Letter?
You have a better chance of winning your VA disability claim. A Medical Nexus Letter which is also called an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) is proof. And the most important link from your military service-connected medical condition to your current medical condition that has become worst or has caused a secondary medical condition.
What is a DBQ?
Disability Benefit Questionnaire (DBQ) – For each medical condition you intend to file, a DBQ must be completed by a medical professional. A DBQ will be completed again by a certified VA examiner or contractor for the VHA during a C&P exam. The examiner will conduct an extensive physical examination during your C&P Exam. A good C&P exam could make a big difference in the disability rating you receive.
For mental disorders conditions the VA allows C&P interviews through live video.
What is a C&P Exam?
A Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam is scheduled once you submit a VA disability claim. If you have a diagnosis with medical evidence & ongoing treatment, and personal statements in support of a claim you may be able to bypass a C&P exam.
What is a Fully Developed Claim (FDC)?
The VA consider a claim “fully developed”, if you provide all relevant and required documents with your application. Then certify that you have no more evidence to submit. That evidence does not include federal records and military medical files VA can get for you after you submit your claim.
When you submit a DBQ completed by your private medical provider or VA clinician with your fully developed claim that may eliminate the need for one or more C&P exams. However, the VA may still schedule a VA claim exam, if they need more evidence for your claim.
Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) are trained & certified to help you prepare and submit disability claim forms at no charge. VA doctors and specialty doctors are aware and available to write Nexus letters and complete DBQs for medical conditions you are claiming.
Therefore, it is unnecessary for you to hire someone who will literally charge you an arm & a leg to write you an IMO or DBQ. Unless you prefer spending a good chunk of your money to hire an accredited professional to do it for you. We recommend asking your VA primary care doctor first. Then if you have to, make a special appointment to specifically complete your fully developed claim.