Thursday, October 30, 2014
Once you receive a disability, don't let the VA Medical Center reopen the case.
After a 10 year ordeal, I was given a disability rating by the CW Bill Young Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO) about 10 months ago. The was after two Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA) hearings, four remands and a Decision Review Officer (DRO) Hearing.
During the claims period I probably wrote more than 1000 pages of documentation, got 12 letters from board certified physicians and also filed several Disability Benefits Questionnaires. The BVA's Veteran Law Judge described my testimony as a highly credible. Even went through the Social Security disability process at the BVA's recommendation and prevailed there, too.
Finally got the disability rating I deserved, Oh, what a relief it is!
The lifestyle of my spouse and I greatly improved in the past 10 months. We have been able to do lot more for out three children. Have been helping one of my son's start a salt water aquarium business.
Thought the disability ordeal was over, but found out on my last appointment at Bay Pines that it was not. The old head of the department had transferred to another location and I was given an appointment with a new specialist.
The appointment was peculiar and conducted more like a compensation and pension (C&P) exam. Had to provide a lot of background information that was in my claim file (c-file) to the doctor. My wife has a great memory for dates so we were able to provide the doctor a history of my medical conditions including dates. The appointment broke down when the physician wanted an additional MRI scan, another diagnostic blood test and another procedure, all of which had already been completed.
Had i agreed to the tests, it would probably have reopened the claim. Since my disabilities are permanent and total, I viewed additional testing as a fool's errand. Told the doctor he was trying to "reinvent the wheel." Said that wheel was already rolling. The appointment started to "go south" down at that point.
The physician had an epiphany and realized his patient was not a fool and then asked me what my last occupation was. Told him IT and intelligence while i was in the Air Force. At this point we had been in the office nearly 1.5 hours and he wanted to move on to another patient.
After the appointment, checked my medication list on MyHealthEVet. Two of my meds were gone, and one was life essential. It appeared the physicians was being vindictive and had canceled the medications. The next day I checked my medication history and found that the physician had actually deleted four of my medications.
I called CW Bill Young Patient Advocates office the next day and reported the bizarre appointment and the deletion of my meds, one of which is life sustaining. I was refereed to the Assistant Direct of Medical something, by a woman named Danielle. She said she would file a report to the head of the department in question.
The day after the appointment,I was able get the physician’s progress notes of the meeting. Found a lot of things in the progress notes that were peculiar. Called Danielle again and told her about the four meds that had been deleted and some of the concerns in the progress notes. Danielle said she would add this info to the report that going to the head of the department. Danielle seemed to irritated during the second call.
Was getting ready to fire off a a complaint via the IRIS Inquiry system when the acting head of the clinic called. She was far more polished than the other physician and indicated doctors have their different styles and that my meds really weren’t deleted, the pharmacy just hadn't "released" the medications yet. One of my meds is refrigerated and my spouse returned a call to the pharmacy about the meds today. The pharmacy indicated that many of my meds, indeed. had been deleted.
I still have a primary care doctor at the Palm Harbor Outpatient clinic so I can get most generic meds reauthorized there.
For some vets who have specialists and a primary care provider, you will need an annual visit to both the specialist clinic and the primary care clinic to keep you medicine current,
If you are a vet, don't let a VA primary care physician, specialist or clinician talk you into tests that reinvent the wheel once you have been awarded a disability. This could result in you disability being downgraded or taken away altogether. Just politely say 'no."
According the the CW Bill Young VARO senior counselor, it was unlikely that the VA would ever try to change my disability. My disability has been rated permanent and total. Have no interest in enabling a redo nor should you.
Sometimes you just have to say, "No."
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