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Found 30 results

  1. Hello All, I am planning on filing a claim for sleep apnea, which was not diagnosed while I was on active duty, as well as cervical pain and Allergic Rhinitis, which were noted in STR's but not officially diagnosed until a few years later, despite continuous treatment for them by the VA. While there is some reference to sleep issues while I was deployed, and treatment records in service for the other two, I want to make my claim as strong as possible from the start. Having read through many of the posts here and elsewhere regarding the nexus to service connection, I believe I will need an IMO to connect the in service event (injury on deployment) and my current diagnosis for sleep apnea, since it was diagnosed about 9 years after I left active service. My spouse is willing to write a statement regarding the symptoms she has witnessed since I left service until my diagnosis, and I have had two sleep studies confirming a diagnosis of sleep apnea (both done at the VA, 6 years apart). I plan on trying for direct service connection (unlikely but worth a shot) as well as secondary service connection (I have other SC conditions, but only rated at 20%, to connect it to). The pulmonologist at VA said my chronic pain likely contributes to my sleep apnea, but I am guessing this is not affirmative enough language for the VA rater, which is why I plan on seeking an IMO, for all three issues I am claiming. My primary care Dr is at the VA, and tends to write in generalities, so I don't think she will be a good choice for writing the IMO/DBQ (she tells me I have to wear my CPAP or I will stop breathing or die in a car accident, but only writes in my chart that "CPAP is recommended"). I have been looking (unsuccessfully) online for doctors who specialize in providing IMO's, and have read about the ones reviewed here, but was wondering about another I keep seeing pop up in the google searches - VA Claims Insider. Seems like a one stop shop, but I have not found much information about them other than what is offered on their website and Youtube channel. Also, the idea of paying after a claim increase seems like a good option, since multiple IMO's can be expensive, but I would think this could present a conflict in the eyes of the VA, since the fee increases with the size of the award. Also, I'm not going to lie, I think it would be great to have someone go over my records and possibly identify issues that I can rightfully claim that I am just not aware of. That seems to be the service they also provide, along with IMO's. So, any guidance or reviews would be appreciated. I am pretty confident that I will need the IMO's. I just don't know where to get them without a potentially awkward first visit to a new Dr, "Hi, I know that we just met, but can you write this very detailed letter for me so I can get disability compensation. No pressure." Thanks, and thank you all for the great info on this site. P.S. - I do not intend for this to become a thread to bash one service over another, or to endorse any particular service. I would just like some honest opinions about any of the people you folks have used. The nexus letter seems to me to be the deciding factor in many of the BVA appeals I have read. Despite its importance, I have had difficulty finding solid info and advice about getting one. Also, I assume VA Claims Insider probably reads this forum, and I don't want to disparage anyone who is trying to help vets.
  2. My VSO let me know that my OSA appeal was denied. My original claim was a direct service connection. I read the sleep apnea field manual from Chris Attig and appealed the decision. On appeal I stated the OSA should be secondary to PTSD and sinusitis. I obtained an IMO from Dr Anaise and a DBQ with the at least as likely as not and medically necessary (CPAP) statements from my psychiatrist. My question is on appeal can you submit evidence to make it a secondary condition or does it need to be filed as secondary from the beginning? I haven't received the RAMP appeal denial letter yet. Also is there a section in the 38 CFR regarding secondary conditions with an original direct service connection claim?
  3. I sent in my packet to the Ellis Clinic in OKC. Does the $500 include the exam and nexus letter or is the nexus a separate charge?
  4. im currently writing my award time frame and my success story for this Great Veterans Blog Information site. but, in the mean time i want to stress and admit that all the others here stressed to me ,,,, if you get any type of small retro and believe your going further in your VA quest for benefits you deserve. please please,,, do your self a favor and save $2,500 and get an IMO/IME... it is the world of difference... if i can say that 1 of the 5 most important things ive learned here on this site is,,, the importance of realizing that a C and P exam will never get you there no matter your evidence. please take this advice and save up to get your imo/ime and then get your win from the VA.
  5. Hi all, looking for feedback regarding my progress and chances, along with any other suggestions. I served in the Navy from 1999-2005, Honorable discharge as a nuclear mechanical on subs. Sadly, like many I rarely reported medical issues while I was in, didn't want to hurt the command with absences. If only I knew then right? In 2015 I filed put my first claim in, Rhinitis (this was well documented inservice) sleep apnea, i had symptoms inservice that were documented but never diagnosed and hypertension secondary to OSA. I thought I had a good package, I had buddy statements and an IMO from Dr Ellis. Well the VA disagreed. They granted SC Rhinitis at 10% and declined SC for OSA and HTN. I applied for a denovo review and they upheld the first rating. I then let my 1 year expire and things ended there. A few years later my sinuses were getting worse. I saw an ENT who diagnosed severe sinusitis a deviated septum and polyps. We tried steroids and antibiotics and then went with a pretty complex sinus surgery. Post op several rounds of steroids and still have polyps. I currently use daily steroid irrigation. That sucks. My OSA of course was diagnosed with a sleep study, it was rated as severe and I use a CPAP daily. I strongly feel that the fact that I can barley breath through my nose makes it a lot worse. The diagnosis on all of these are unarguable. Its the SC that will be the battle. HTN: I have pretty severe HTN, it is controlled with 3 meds daily. The literature is pretty clear that OSA worsens HTN. And for what its worth, I don't use the VA for health care. So my packet: I had hoped to try the DRC process as, I am very lucky to have the resources to build my own claim. I used Bethany who is a PA at Valor 4 Vets to do my DBQs for Rhinitis /Sinusitis, OSA and HTN. She also wrote IMOs for each with literature cited. The least as likely then not phrase is there for every condition. I'm happy to post if it will help anyone. I also wanted an IMO from a doc with a little stronger CV so I went with Dr Aniase, I know he's been talked about here and like others have said the service was great. Also he is a former lung transplant surgeon, who has focused a lot on OSA so I thought that was a good fit. He put together a solid 65 page letter with a lot of literature and medical rationale that OSA is make worse by Rhinitis and that HTN is made worse by OSA. He went on to say that sinusitis is only caused by rhinitis and pointed out the rationale for increased rhinitis. I of course had all of my private medical records. I took these to my local VFW service officer on 4/17. I had no problem doing the claim myself by a DRC claim has to be submitted by a VSO. She tried to discourage the DRC process as it shifts the responsibility to the Vet and the VSO. I get that but I already have everything and hopefully wont need additional exams as I have my DBQs. She relented and took all of my compiled paperwork to submit. Well shockingly while her cover letter asked it to be processed as a DRC, it wasn't uploaded to the DRC portal and is now showing as a regular pending claim. The OSA and HTN are re-opens. So I think i have a pretty bulletproof packet. What thoughts do you all have? Is there anything else I should do?
  6. Back in May 2015 had a IME/IMO exam and was told I should put in a claim for deviated septum cause I had surgery for same while on active duty and again the same exact surgery in 2009 at VA. I had no intention of applying for it until it was brought up. I went ahead and submitted and it got denied, did an NOD and still sitting in Appeal now. I have not had any additional deviated septum surgeries since filing (2015) and no more clinical indications another surgery is needed therefore MY QUESTION: (1) Does the fact I have had two surgeries mean anything as far as service connection goes or.... (2) is this just a lame duck I should cut loose since no more surgeries have occurred since 2009. Final question, if still sitting and waiting on multiple Appeals does dropping one of those Appeals speed the others along any faster or does it even matter? Can those on Appeal be processed individually at any point in time that RO decides to overturn same..... or do they wait until all of the Appeals made and filed together are fully decided one way or another? Just seeking some opinion on this from more seasoned folks in Forum.
  7. Are there any suggestions or preferred methods on how to approach an independent doctor to perform a VA evaluation for your conditions, service connect an event during service, and fill out a DBQ?
  8. I want to start a thread for people to post names of IMO/IME's they have used. THIS IS FOR GOOD AND BAD DOCS. We want to know who to go to and who to avoid (Keep in mind if your symptoms and evidence does not support a DX or SC that does not mean they are a Bad doctor, it means you havent given them what they need to do what you want) Rules: (and Tbird/mods have final say) 1) Follow the template below, Copy and Paste 2) do not list out your whole story of your claims spanning back 20 years, keep it concise 3) If they were good or bad, list concise (ie quick and to the point) reasons why. TEMPLATE: COPY AND PASTE -------------------------------------------- WHERE ARE THEY: NAME: WHAT IS THEIR SPECIALTY (or what you were seen for): COST: CONTACT: REVIEW (keep the Yes or No, based on whats correct) Did they review your entire file (YES) (NO) -- Did they provide a well written DBQ/IMO/IME (YES) (NO) -- Were they familiar with VA Claims (38 cfr, M21, etc) ? (YES) (NO) -- Would you classify them as "Vet Friendly" (YES) (NO) -- Would you recommend them to other veterans? (YES) (NO) -- Comments: (Be Brief) --------------------------------------------------
  9. OK Folks, Been a while since I posted on here, but I've been lurking and reading. After receiving my SOC on several conditions, and being informed by the Houston VARO that they will be sending an SSOC within the week, I think it's time that I hire somebody a good bit smarter than I am, and who can navigate the BVA system. I ran the gambit myself for the most part, obtaining all of my military medical and personnel records from NPRC when the VA said they couldn't find anything, getting an IME/IMO from Dr. Ellis in Oklahoma, an IMO from Dr David Anaise in Arizona, an IMO from my oncologist of the past 18 years, and a bundle and a half of my civilian treatment records. I fought with the help of Ted Ebert of the VA to get 95 pages of medical records that belonged to other veterans out of my C-File. (First denial and first SOC contained a ton of citations of these records, some of which were before I was even born.). I still have one record from some poor Airman whose name is nowhere close to mine, who has a rough condition that they still cannot seem to remove, but at least it's only one page now....I hope. I requested and received three copies of my C-File, gettting a different number of pages each time, and always something new from my military records that they couldn't find before when they did their first rating. I went through three C&P's, with an affirmative one in 2012, and two adverse ones in 2015 (after introducing Dr. Ellis' IME/IMO) and another in 2016 (after introducing Dr. Anaise's IMO). I started all this in June, 2010, and have to say that it has been a ride, bumpy, but educational. I've filed NOD's, Form 9 Appeals and all kinds of other junk, and have learned that eBenefits has a long way to go before being truly veteran friendly. (But it is better than the old VONAPP system that I used when I first started this mess.) When I receive my SSOC in the next few days, (It should have already arrived by now, but hey...it's the VA, right?), I'll do whatever needs to be done to keep the ball moving, but old Mark is ready to let somebody else navigate. I don't mind working, submitting to more exams, blood work, x-rays, etc, but I think I need an attorney to move on. My American Legion guys, who have been friendly, etc. through it all have only really served to help me eliminate the long waits on the 1-800 number, and that's about it. And of course, the VA finally has fixed that a bit and the waits are pretty small now. So, question is, who do you folks recommend to help me from here as I enter BVA land? Thanks again for the wealth of information so far, and I have to say that I would not have gotten the much-needed 20% that I received without your advice early on in this march. Have a great weekend, and I look forward to hearing from everyone who has had experience with good law firms, and warnings from those who have bad experiences from others. Mark
  10. Morning all, I am new to the forum but been an avid reader and learner from the posts listed here on this site as well as other sites. My situation, I was able to get an IMO from the Ellis Clinic plus an Nexus from the VA Dr. and submitted in as a new claim and was wondering what are my chances in winning. I know every scenario is different and I review the citations as well on BVA. Can anyone share their successes or disappointments? P.s. Flores97 I emailed you :) I wished you well in your case. Sincerely, Thank you.
  11. Howdy All! Been a while since I've posted, but I've been reading, lurking and watching.....oh yes....I've been out there watching.....(that was creepy). Took some great advice and contacted Ted Ebert from the VA, via e-mail about my frustration with 95 medical and psych records belonging to other veterans being contained within my C-File, and that they were cited by the VA's last C&P examiner (held by Veterans Evaluation Service in Houston by a 12 year old nurse practitioner dude with a ponytail and a whopping 2 years of experience as a nurse practitioner......ok he may have been 16 years old.....maybe) and the VA's rater (who apparently only knows two functions on his keyboard....copy and paste). Early this year, Mr. Ebert was able to get the VA to acknowledge and purge all of these records, and the latest C-File I received in July looks like it was finally Mission Accomplished after several years of pleading with them to pull the records and reassess. While waiting on this, I received another IMO from Doctor David Anaise on multiple conditions. Although Mr. Ebert advised that the actual C&P examination report, rating denial and the rating decision letter (all three had information from medical records of other individuals) could not be removed or redacted, he advised that he would note in the file that there were incorrect records and that these documents had cited them. The VA finally did a reset and pulled me back down from pending a BVA Appeal back down to the run of the mill Notice of Disagreement, and has now recently scheduled me for a third C&P examination with QTC (My first time dealing with them in this six year Disneyland ride line.) The first C&P by a real doctor at VES was favorable to me, the third was blackballed by Nurse Skippy with the ponytail citing other veteran's records, and now it looks like I'll see another doctor at QTC from what I read. I did an "interview" over the phone with an office employee, who went over the DBQ questionnaire with me and had me answer her verbally line by line each question on the multiple DBQ's. They had already FedEx'd me the DBQ questionaires with appointment information and instructions, which I filled out as instructed, but she said that this would save time and make it easier for the doctor to review than reading my handwriting or filling it out himself. (Don't worry, I plan to bring my own handwritten copies as well, as well as the IMO from my oncologist, affirmative C&P from the VES doctor in 2012, the IME/IMO from Doctor Ellis and the IMO from Doctor Anaise, as well as my STR's and other supporting medical materials. I may also bring a couple of Doctor Seuss books just in case. The office employee was patient and friendly thus far. Fangs may be out when I arrive next week, but who knows? She even let me give her more information when I called her back with additional symptoms that I had forgotten to tell her in the initial telephone interview (I wasn't home when she called, and she caught me flatfooted.) I'll keep everybody advised of what happened on my first QTC experience. Gotta be better than the last VES experience....I hope. This one will involve C&P's for service connection on several conditions and a rating increase on another. Have a great weekend! Mark
  12. Hello all, first of all thank you to all who share your stories and advice. While this is my first post, I've been stalking the forum for months as something to do during my insomnia as I wait for my decision. I have found both comfort and education here. I was hoping for some opinions, advice, or even encouragement. I realize I'm not in the worst shape compared to others, but this process has my anxiety through the roof. I am currently rated 30% SC PTSD-MST (total rating with other disabilities is 50%). My condition has progressively worsened, especially over the past few years. I submitted my FDC for PTSD increase and TDIU in May and it has been in Gathering of Evidence phase. All of my treatments have been with VA docs. My GAF scores average around 50. I obtained a favorable IMO to submit with my application. I haven't yet been scheduled for a C&P exam. Over the past several years I missed a lot of work, burned through my leave with sick days, was previously placed on both short and long term disability with my employer, all from my SC medical issues. I would appreciate based on your experience and thoughts on whether I might have a good case for increase, what my rating might be, whether I might get TDIU or P&T, how long it might take for VA to get my medical records from VA hospitals, if I will have to do a C&P exam (the thought almost triggers a panic attack), or any advice on what I can do to pass the time as I wait besides chronically check eBenefits and read every single thread on this forum. I realize I have a much longer wait ahead of me, so I figured I'd start engaging here. Thank you in advance for any help.
  13. Anyone ever use http://www.valorcompensationconsulting.com/ to get an Independent Medical Option? I spoke with the owner and they seem like they really want to help veterans out. I was just wondering if anyone has ever used there services and what was the outcome of your case?
  14. Vets, Anyone ever use :http://www.vetcompandpen.com/ ? I talked to there representative today and they seem very knowledgeable and claim to have helped a lot of vets with there cases (for a fee of course).
  15. Does anyone know a doctor who does IMO letters for Fibromyalgia. I have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia from a Rheumatologist from Scott & White, Chronic Pain Syndrome and Myofacial Pain from the VA. The C&P clearly went my way except the nurse practitioner who did the C&P stated I had a diagnosis but it does not seem related to Active Duty Service by review of SMR's. So it is going to be hard to pass this under Gulf War presumptive illnesses. Any Help in this matter will be appreciated.
  16. Hi All. My claim for Sleep apnea, Hypertension and Rhinitis just hit the "pending decision phase". I dont know how it will turn out but I wanted to post a copy of my IME/Nexus from Dr Ellis. I am curious about your thoughts. By the way, his practice is very vet friendly and the cost of the exam and report was 500. Expert Medical Eval_2.pdf
  17. Team, When is it best to get an IME vs an IMO? Which hold more power in the VAs world? Thanks
  18. Okay I think I have a solid letter for my upcoming NOD Review Hearing. NOD Letter Redacted.pdf Does this look good enough for my upcoming NOD? NOD 11.18.14_Redacted.pdf I think he connected the dots for the following contentions: 1. Status post avulsion fracture, 5th Metatarsal, right foot - read why it was denied. Here is my ISSUES and CONCERNS. This fracture occurred when I was 8 months pregnant in 1996. I was taken to Ft. Belvoir and they put me in a cast. I gave birth to my daughter while in the cast. MY PROBLEM....No SMR's to back this up! I have requested them since 2014 to no avail. I have the documentation where I requested the records but so far no luck. My podiatrist in my IMO letter attached indicates the fracture is old and s/c it to my AD injuries...Is this good? 2. Left Foot strain with Morton's neuroma - Read why it was denied. This I believe I have a good leg to stand on LOL - I went through my SMR's submitted and there are several pieces of evidence to support this claim. When I fractured my L ankle (Talus Hawkins I) back in 1991/92 there are notations on my medical records AD that I had numbness at the base of my L foot/toe. I previously provided this, along with my outside podiatrist DBQ's citing I had this condition and it had been since the 90's that I was suffering from it. What do I do here to prove this contention should be S/C? 3. Right Ankle Sprain - read why they denied it. I have SMR's that were submitted to back this up yet it was denied. I am not sure what "new" evidence" I can supply? Should I reiterate the already existing evidence? The denial indicates I had issues but I don't constitute a S/C. I also have DBQ's from my outside Podiatrist stating that my L/R ankles have synovitis. I was S/C 10% for my L ankle so why not my right???? Here is the Denial Letter .pdf Thanks!
  19. Has anyone used Dr. K Edwards and have a review. here is his website: http://www.vadisabilityclaimsrelief.com/
  20. my question is, should i send my IMO to the Regional Office to look at ? i brought my IMO to the BVA hearing in D.C. around 4 months ago. i asked for the bva to take over consideration of the IMO and it was aggreed by the judge to do so. but now since my appeal has still not been decided and looks as if im still going to be waiting for some time then should i send the Great IMO to the department of original jurisdiction for consideration?
  21. When is it too late to submit new and material evidence in an appeal? I just got my Dear John letter from the VA this weekend in the form of a Statement of the Case from a NOD I had filed on an initial rating back in 2013. I haven't filed my Form 9 yet, and know I'm a few days into my 60 day deadline clock, so don't want to waste too much time. I'm just wondering that if I receive another IME or IMO if I can submit them before my case gets transferred to the BVA. I haven't decided my options for hearings yet....video...in person....etc. Any thoughts? Thanks again! Mark
  22. I am finishing up copying all pertinent materials to send to Dr. Bash for an IMO for my husband. However, I'm not totally sure what is pertinent. I want to be sure to send what is needed but not inundate the doc with a bunch of unnecessary stuff. Any tips on this and best way to arrange, etc. Thanks, Kate
  23. Received an IMO and the doctor asked that I look it over for errors and let him know. This is an appeal for kidney disease my husband suffers from and we are claiming was caused by the contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (an uphill battle.) The report looks good to me but I do have a few questions I wanted to ask here before getting back with him. **It says he reviewed patient's medical records/testimony,lay statements, personnel records but it does not state he saw the service medical records or C&P file. He did see both and references the C&P opinion elsewhere but does not specifically list it. Should these two things be included in the list of what he saw? **My husband had two entries in his service medical records where he was treated for urinary issues and pain. These were a year apart and after exposure to the water. I thought maybe these would be important to include as the possible start of the problem but maybe not. **He referred to a reference which lists harmful chemicals known to cause the kidney disease my husband has but also includes in the list other items, such as: lead paint, cigarette smoke, sewage, whitening creams contaminated cereals, etc. I'm not sure these should all be listed. I'm thinking just pull out the chemicals he was exposed to and not leave it open for VA to say "Hey, these other items could have been a factor." We all know many things in the environment can contribute to medical issues but don't want to give unnecessary ammo. **The opinion doesn't use the exact wording "at least as likely as not" but does say "to at least the 50% level of probability." Is that acceptable to VA? **This next may be petty but I have a thing about spelling (not that I don't have issues with it also) and there are some in the report, likely typos. Should I ask that these be corrected or is that not a real issue? Just want to make sure we cover everything and give VA no reason to say something is not included or done right. We also have a statement in my husband's medical notes from his VA kidney specialist, saying that he feels the condition is at least as likely as not a result of the water. Any thoughts on this? Anything that I should make sure is included before sending the NOD? Thanks, Kate
  24. I am wondering what is the best option, IME or an IMO, for wading through the VA's appellate process after a NOD has been filed? Would it be wiser to go with a good quality IME examiner first, or just do an IMO with a records review, and then wait for the VA to decide to order any additional C&P's? Part of me thinks that by going through a C&P process with DBQ's in obtaining an IME might be a time saver. Thoughts or advice? Mark
  25. Hello everyone and Merry Christmas! I'm in the final stages of putting together a NOD - and thanks to all those who helped me thus far. I'm taking AskNOD's advice and putting appropriate CFRs in my rationale for why the RO wrongly denied service connection. However, I can't find an obvious CFR cite that covers which doctor they should listen to. In my situation, my ENT filled out a DBQ that said that my hearing loss was related to military service. The RO, relying on audiologists, is using the argument that I had hearing loss upon entering the service and that the level of increased loss was not due to military service - which for me included loud engine noise, pistol, rife, auxilitary or main battery fire, helicopter operations, etc. If my ENT said that it was, in his opinion, related to military service shouldn't the RO take that opinion over VA or QTC audiologists? Of course, as AskNOD has so aptly put it, the DBQ form is somewhat short of a nexus letter. I can go back to my ENT and ask him for a full nexus letter to include with form 9. But first of all, is there a CFR cite that discusses which doctor to choose? I sure can't find one...
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