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Independent Medical Opinion (imo)



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An IMO (Independent medical Opinion) is a written opinion by a medical professional stating that particular physicians opinion in a medical matter. In the realm of the VA an IMO can be instrumental in proving the "nexus" or connection in a veterans claim.

An IMO must have these basic things written somewhere in the wrtite-up in order for it to hold any weight in the eyes of VA;

The complete medical records was reviewed to include the veterans SMR's

Any special qualification the doctor may have, such as being board certified in a particular area ect...

A full rational for the physicians opinion as to why he/she came to a certain conclusion. This is where the physician should cite any medical litrature to support a rational.

The physician needs to use objective diagnosyic tools to support his/her opinion. The physician SHOULD NOT just rely on a subjective history presented by the veteran.

The physician should use the phrases " at least as likely as not' (meaning a 50/50 chance), "more than likely than not" (meaning 50% chance or more), or "is due to" when opining whether something is related to ones military service or related as secondary to one's already service-connected disability.

In short an IMO will probably look like a term paper one would write for a college class.

Hope this helps!

Vike 17

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The complete IMO criteria is here at hadit- I posted it many times-

It must contain a complete medical rationale for the opinion.

Also if you have very good internet printouts that support the medical nexus- send them to the IMO doctor as they should always incorporate a medical reference in the rationale.

Printouts are only secondary evidence and they have little weight unless a doctor uses them-

For example- in my IMO Dr. Bash quoted from Brauwald (well known Medical text)

as to the high medical probability of something-forget what- and also used the ADA literature and other medical references when he stated his rationale.

I agree with Army-tab the evidence and send an outline - also I sent prior SOCs and even VACO legal documents from 1997 to Dr. Bash.

A good IMO doctor is going to read it all but tabbing specific documents will help the focus of the claim.

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There's different levels of IMOs also. If you just randomly go to a civilian for the sole purpose of an evaluation, you're going to have a tough time with the VA; especially if that eval is to determine service connection. However, if you routinely see a civilian doctor and you're merely doing a C&P review, the VA tends to look very favorably on that because a primary doctor is far more qualified to give an opinion than a C&P doctor who's seen you once for 30 minutes or so.

But, as has been said, you need to work with that doctor to properly format your review. The funny part is that a typical C&P exam is anything but thorough and they tend to have very little information, which is highly opinionated, rather than medically driven (what can a doctor learn in a 30 min C&P exam really?). Perhaps I'm a bit skewed on this, though, because my wife's disability is mental and, therefore, highly subjective. I guess a more concrete, physical disability would be more accurately diagnosed in a single C&P.

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