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MarkInTexas

Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    568
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MarkInTexas last won the day on January 18

MarkInTexas had the most liked content!

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148 Excellent

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About MarkInTexas

  • Rank
    E-7 Chief Petty Officer

Profile Information

  • Location
    East Texas
  • Interests
    Genealogy; History; Family, Country Living

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
    80%
  • Branch of Service
    Air Force
  • Hobby
    Genealogy

Recent Profile Visitors

1,880 profile views
  1. I've never dealt with Valor4vet, but you reminded me about the VA's own use of contractor's that hire PA's, NP's or MD's/DO's that are running haphazard practices and were forced go work for QTC/VES, etc. You can use this to your advantage though. From what I've seen from the BVA, if the things roll your way and they provide opinions that are affirmative to your claim, they might get used later on in the appellate process, even if the VARO ignores them. Smile and say "thank ya" and don't forget to file your travel voucher. However, if they shoot you in the foot on the C&P report, which so many do, immediately search them out online. (As a matter of fact, go ahead and do your research after you leave their office, even before you get the C&P report so that you can know what and who you were dealing with. If you get their name BEFORE the C&P, it doesn't hurt to research them then too. You might key in on something that plays with their heartstrings.) And when I say search them out, I mean go look them up on the various medical rating sites and pull their medical practice history, license dates, employment locations and curriculum vitae if it is out there, and use it against them in your NOD or Form 9. Facebook is also an awesome tool to see what/how they think about life, and to see if they make comments about veterans, etc. If they say negative things about veterans or the C&P process, print it and keep it dry with your powder. However, you should do this WHILE also detailing the curriculum vitae of the doctor or practitioner that performed your IME/IMO for you. Show the disparities in education, training, experience ,etc to show the VARO and the BVA that your guy/lady is the professional and theirs was a scrub. But ALSO insure that you comb through the C&P report to note and bring up where the VA's medical contractor failed to address your IME/IMO reports, your military, civilian and VA medical records, military job hazards, etc that you or your own doctor may have provided as affirmative evidence, or that the VA contractor just simply failed to provide a medical basis for his/her opinion period. Also, use the VA's DBQ form filling program against them. Most of these quacks don't know how to use it properly and leave things blank, or copy/paste, like you wouldn't believe, leaving a trail of errors. On the same token, make sure that you give your IME/IMO doctor EVERYTHING they need to make a report, even the VA's C&P reports if you've had any done at this point, so that when you end up at the BVA raising your right hand, you can swear that you provided them with the whole enchilada, even the IME/IMO's from other doctors. They can and do use a lot of this as a basis for their medical opinions as well, and quite often see something you may have missed. On the question of who is best, I really don't know. I can only speak from my own experience. I was new to it all, had not hired an attorney yet and was using an American Legion VSO two hours from home, and found both of these doctors on this website. The VA had already shot me in the back once by ignoring a great C&P that actually was in my favor and then got me once more with a second C&P with a nurse practitioner in a pony tail, so I poured through the forums and decided to use Dr. Ellis first for the whole IME/IMO in Oklahoma experience. I sent his staff everything via U.S. Mail, including the IMO's from my oncologist and the audiologist, as well as the affirmative C&P from my first VA examiner and the negative one from the surfer dude with the pony tail. (Again, it doesn't hurt to give other people's homework to your doctor so he can see what has already been diagnosed.) After the VARO gave in a little, but not enough after the second C&P (which was kicked off by my new evidence from Dr. Ellis), I decided to use Dr. Anaise and once again sent everything to him via e-mail. This also included any new medical records from current treatment and Dr. Ellis' own IMO. Dr. Anaise and his staff produced a huge IMO based on everything, which caused the VARO to yawn a little, but give in a little more after putting me through another C&P with some doctor who worked for QTC on the side and ran a beauty/collagen lip treatment office in Florida selling beauty products. What really made the difference was after it all finally made it to the BVA, the work finally paid off. (So far....still waiting on the VARO to handle the grants and remands.) I used it as a one/two punch. I can say that Dr. Ellis does a great job and his staff is ultra-friendly, but if the VARO shuts you down, you might want to look at why they did it and if you can do a little more development on your claim, either by yourself, or in coordination with your attorney or VSO, it doesn't hurt to provide that additional medical evidence to the BVA hearing table. Dr. Anaise was the additional evidence I needed, and was cited repeatedly and nearly equally with Dr. Ellis' opinions in the BVA decision, but so were my IMO's from my oncologist and audiologist, as well as my military and private treatment records, and like I mentioned before, they even cited some of my personnel records that had nothing to do with medical history, but showed deployments and career related hazards. Whole enchilada...….just sayin'. I think I got off track, but I hope I helped. Have a great week and good luck! Mark
  2. As I mentioned before, I used both Dr. Ellis and Dr. Anaise. Dr. Ellis performed an actual examination and provided an IME/IMO, and Dr. Anaise did a full records review of everything, including Dr. Ellis’ own IMO. Drive-out cost for a baker’s dozen, plus a couple of conditions: Dr. Ellis - $550 (It included a full blown exam. I had to mail off all of my documents to him in advance, which was no real problem thanks to the U.S.P.S. Great staff, and a free sucker (lollipop for those inquiring) when I checked out.) They maintained contact with me throughout the process until I received my final IME/IMO draft. Yes, they will correct mistakes or note something for you if you ask nicely. Dr. Anaise - $2K (I e-mailed most all of my documentation to his office, and only had maybe two phone calls. The staff there, consisting of at least one more doctor...maybe more, are efficient. They are pretty much business only, but he writes a great IMO.) They will also go back and forth with you via e-mail to proof your final draft. My Oncologist....$25 co-pay, rest covered by my health insurance. He did a short and sweet IMO based on records and his 20 years of treating me. A friendly East Texas Audiologist - $40 - She did a one-pager IMO after doing a round of audiology exams on me. Throught it all, the VA sent me to three different full blown C&P’s and two Audiology C&P’s. The process has been slow, and the VARO ignored everything they could ignore as I climbed up from 10, 20 and then 80% (The last big jump was due to a new condition that the VARO actually approved right out of the chute. I’m still amazed.) Now, reading the BVA’s recent decision, which granted 12 conditions and remanded two, I see that the Judge and the BVA attorney staff loved Dr. Ellis’ work and cited it in nearly every grant. They also cited Dr. Anaise quite often, and both served as a one-two punch against the negative C&P’s. They also loved the short IMO from my oncologist due to him being my treating doctor for over two decades, and even mentioned the audiologist IMO once in granting a hearing loss connection that I had all but given up on. In truth, I also had plenty of medical records and some recent VA treatment and x-ray reports that my representative shot over to them at the last minute, which they cited as well. Long story short, I think the BVA really liked that Dr. Ellis and his staff actually performed examinations instead of just records reviews, and Dr. Anaise served to bolster the evidence even more in my favor by providing medical basis for each claim with legal reasoning. (I did not use him as my attorney, although he does do that too, but he ensures that the language of each nexus conforms to legal standard at the BVA.) Now keep in mind that the costs probably have risen since I obtained mine three or four years ago. I’m still sitting in the waiting line back at the VARO to handle my granted conditions and work on my remands, but at least I have that BVA decision and I couldn’t have done it without those solid IME/IMO’s. Good luck! Mark
  3. Thanks! Several of my claimed conditions show as closed and granted, and of course the two straggler remands, which the BBE confirmed a couple of months ago. I'm just sitting in "hide and watch" mode right now. The ebenefits and VA.gov sites are more of a way to keep from sitting on the Peggy line for an hour when they tell you the wait time is "5 minutes" at the beginning of the call. I learned a long time ago not to take much stock in what VONAPP, ebenefits or the new VA.gov site show as for as prophesizing what will or may happen, and use them more as tools to manage my own current awards and benefeits, etc. However, I confess that I really enjoy watching the little VA.gov appeal status bar each day to see where I am. 54,203 Yesterday! Have a good one! Mark
  4. My own BVA appeal was granted on several issues back on October 31st, with two small remanded conditions. Waited until mid-December to call to check on the status with Peggy, and was told that my appeal was back at the Houston VARO, and they had no further information from there. I’m at 80%, so I’m still good during the wait for the remaining granted conditions and retro, but I also feel the aggravation that others feel knowing that initial claims have been ripening on the vines for years, only to sit for a few more AFTER the BVA grants awards. If you want to watch for the pot to boil though, set up a VA.gov account and you can access your “place in line” while you wait for your appeal, along with the VA’s guess on how many appeals are in the VA system, something like 179K today. They seem to update it after every work day, and for some reason, there is even a small update on Saturday afternoons. My place in line numbers only change like 50-100 per day, but I’m hoping that this has only been a slow down because of the holidays, and that next week things will begin to move quicker. I would figure that between the AMC and all of the VARO’s working on appeals that they could get veterans and their grants/remands taken care of much more effectively. Good luck to you all, and have have a safe and healthy New Year! Mark
  5. Not sure if this helps, but during my last rating bump, the retro arrived in two separate instances. The first looked like it was for my base retro, and the other looked like it was for my dependents. If the numbers aren't right, and they won't budge after you talk to them, you may have to NOD them on the dependent portion of the award. Have a great weekend. Mark
  6. I'll ditto on Wayne's comment. Doctor Ellis and his staff are professional and know their stuff. They conduct an in depth examination and write a great IMO. Worth the trip! Have a great weekend and Happy Veterans Day to all next week! Mark
  7. MarkInTexas

    ID.ME

    I have both. I use the DS login mostly to access my Ebenefits and VA health/scheduling information. The ID.me portal is interesting and I believe they are restructuring it again with a few improvements. I like their appeals information page because it gets my hopes up when Ebenefits tells me that there is no change in the weather. Always doubt the accuracy of both, but the ID.me gives you that "a tooth fairy just left a quarter under your pillow" feel. Have a great week, and don't forget to vote! Peace out! Mark
  8. MarkInTexas

    Ball Moved Again! 80%!

    Thanks, y’all!
  9. MarkInTexas

    Ball Moved Again! 80%!

    Thanks, Wayne! Happy Easter! Mark
  10. MarkInTexas

    Ball Moved Again! 80%!

    Thanks, L! Ya gotta laugh at the whole process sometimes, or it will drive a person over the edge. Have a great Easter weekend! Mark
  11. MarkInTexas

    VA Secretary took trip with VA $$$

    I’m still new to the VA medical system, and have only been using it less than a year now. I only really have experience it’s their outpatient clinic here, and have not had anything extensive done like surgeries, etc. at the VA. I like the idea of no co-pays or deductibles in the VA system now that I finally broke over that edge. I’ve had private insurance through my employers most of my life after leaving the military, and those all had monthly premiums and co-pays/deductibles for office visits, prescriptions, procedures, etc. Having the option of using a VA card like a Medicare card at private doctors and pharmacies sounds great though, and would be a great option when VA facilities aren’t close. I have my Community Choice card, but have never tried it. Maybe I’ll know enough after a few more years of using this VA system to be able to talk about pros and cons. Y’all have a great Easter! Mark
  12. MarkInTexas

    Ball Moved Again! 80%!

    Thanks, Buck!
  13. I had an IME from my Oncologist, who treated me for the past 19 years now, and a very positive DBQ from a VES contract doctor who did the original C&P examination for me, as well as good STR's and civilian medical records. The VA back then, shot me in the back, disregarding the IMO, and simply rescheduled me for another C&P with a VES nurse practitioner, who knew how to play the VA game. (The original "good" VA doctor was a D.O. who had also retired as a Colonel in the USAF as a doctor, and knew his stuff, and apparently didn't last long in the VA C&P world.) I reached out to Dr. Ellis for an IME/IMO for multiple conditions, U.S. mailed my entire medical file with an explanation of the claims I had, and made the drive to Oklahoma City. His IME/IMO helped me get kick started to bring my rating up a notch, although the VA still balked on much of it, I managed to break through the gate. Later on down the line, Dr. Ellis even referred me to a VA attorney, who I later contacted after I gave up on my American Legion VSO. Then I used Dr. Anaise, who allowed me to e-mail all of my documents to him, and who provided an amazing IMO based on all of the medical evidence, IME/IMO's previously obtained, with legal basis for each of his opinions. I did not retain him as my attorney, although he is a practicing lawyer who can represent in the BVA/CAVC system, and for this medical opinion, he charged a flat one time fee. What I liked about Dr. Anaise was that he also made inferences to secondary conditions that I did not think of, and for which my actual attorney jumped on, resulting in a major increase in rating. As I mentioned in previous posts, I still have a long way to go to move the ball all the way, and to retain my original EED on those old conditions. Using a good attorney is a lesson I learned late in the game, but early on I placed trust in Dr. Ellis and Dr. Anaise, and I have to say that I recouped any IME/IMO fees, travel/hotel/fuel costs, U.S. mail costs, etc. in that very first retro check. What I learned is that Dr. Ellis and his staff are family-oriented, treat you comfortably and professionally, and will work back and forth with you until you have a satisfactory IME/IMO to submit to the VA. I also learned that although Dr. Anaise is much more straightforward and all business, if you have the proper medical evidence, he can write an exquisite IMO for you for a flat fee, and if you do want to retain him as an attorney he will do it, for the same percentage fee that other attorneys charge. As I said, I only used his services for an IMO, but it had enough ammunition to help me and my actual attorney get things moving. Have a great weekend! Mark
  14. MarkInTexas

    Ball Moved Again! 80%!

    Another update.......finally got my BBE in the mail, so that's done. Confirmed everything I see in eBenefits and in my payments, so I guess I can breathe that final sigh of relief. Also received a small check in the mail yesterday from the Treasury Department for a refund on the VAMC co-pays I have paid on medical going back to this latest EED date where they brought me up to 80%. I had to contact the VAMC billing folks to ensure that my new rating was in their system, and while they were updating it, I also asked for a refund for the co-pays. (Yes, you have to ask them to do the audit so that you can receive the refund.) After a few days, the check arrived. The march forward continues on to the BVA now on the outstanding conditions and original EED. Good luck to all of you and thanks once again for the help and support I have received on here through the years. Have a great weekend! Mark
  15. MarkInTexas

    Anyone Use David Anaise Md Jd

    Wayne, good thinking. Yes, I tried to go at it from every angle, and it has paid off so far. I still have a few things on appeal, and thus far I’ve handled it at the VARO level. However, I still have a few things left on appeal with the BVA, so we’ll see what’s over that hill in a few months/years. It’s been a long battle. Good luck, and never give up! Mark
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