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"lay Person"


Ricky

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Why is it that when a veteran or someone supporting him makes a opinion on a medical issue the reply from VA is "a lay person may not make opinions that which only a competent medical authority has the training to make. However, when the VA (rater, DRO or whoever) opines that a medical opinion obtained from a medical doctor does not support the claimed disability it is taken as word from above and there is no way to refute such an opinion. In the true meaning of the VA's definition of "lay person" ALL VA employees (except medical staff) are lay persons. Why then are they allowed to opine negatively on medical opinions issued by doctors?

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Why is it that when a veteran or someone supporting him makes a opinion on a medical issue the reply from VA is "a lay person may not make opinions that which only a competent medical authority has the training to make. However, when the VA (rater, DRO or whoever) opines that a medical opinion obtained from a medical doctor does not support the claimed disability it is taken as word from above and there is no way to refute such an opinion. In the true meaning of the VA's definition of "lay person" ALL VA employees (except medical staff) are lay persons. Why then are they allowed to opine negatively on medical opinions issued by doctors?

Ricky,

You make some great points. I argued this claim 2 weeks ago when my wife and I had a meeting before my VAMC Medical Director. My arguement was how can a N.P dignosis and do C&P exams with out the needed education and expirence needed to deal with severely disabled Veterans. As you know he would not answer. Silence is golden at times.

In the past I have asked my DRO if he had a medical degree? he said he did not, so I asked him how can he call the ball in the veterans favor when the edivence is borderline (the VA is supposed to rule in the Veteran's favor when all edivence is in and could go either way) They are not fond of veterans holding them accountable.

I am not sure who is a lay person in the VA either, and I got a feeling we probally will never know. Keep fighting and standing up for ourselves. God bless you!

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  • HadIt.com Elder

The benefit of the doubt is a concept the VA just ignores. When you get to the BVA then I think they consider it. The RO just does what they want to do and lets you appeal. I had two C&P exams for DMII and a secondary condition. One doc said service-connected and the other said not service-connected so, naturally, the VA sided with the doc who said not service-connected. I got it SC'ed but it took another trip to the DRO to get it. It is just time that is wasted but the VA does not care.

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John999,

That is my point. How can anyone within the VA to include the BVA who are no more a medical expert than you or I make such a decision? In my view it would take a MD who specializes in the disability in question to be able to determine which medical opinion is more probative. If I look at the two opinions and say that opinion 1 which supports my claim, is the one that more likely reveals the true picture of my disability then the VA says that my statement does not count because I am a simple "lay person" without a MD degree. However, when snuffy the rater who even has less general education that you or I says opinion number 2 presents a more true picture the hammer is slammed down with DENIED! I would submitt to you that snuffy the rater is also a lay person and has no business denying a claim. I guess that I am just p'ed with this whole system. Plus I still have that ole a Vet is a Vet no matter what. Based upon that belief then I must also say a lay person is a lay person no matter what. My whole theroy here is that the system should be changed so that if VA denies a claim then that claim should be forwarded to an outside medical agency prior to a final decision being made. If a statement from a lay person can not be used to favorably support a medical condition then a lay person should not be allowed to deny a claim by being the final say so on which medical opinion is used in that action. I guess that I am just being crazy here but the VA does that to you sometimes. Thanks for listening to me guys.

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I just looked it up under adujdication section in the directives. The VA is supposed to take Lay statements. The hard truth is that some Raters actually lay the statements aside including Dr's opinions and add their own. Allot of VA employees actually think they are god. I know, I used to work at one and I saw it every day. The clerks are the worst.

The VA will do will do anything, Lose information, Lose entire claims, ( Found that one to be true today when I called the 800 number) implement various stall tatics. Do not send another claim while 1 is being adjudicated or your wait just got a years extension. I know that one too. And If you send in a cue claim and call to check on it. I am fed up. Its been way too long.

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Ricky- I love your sound rationale here:

"Why is it that when a veteran or someone supporting him makes a opinion on a medical issue the reply from VA is "a lay person may not make opinions that which only a competent medical authority has the training to make. However, when the VA (rater, DRO or whoever) opines that a medical opinion obtained from a medical doctor does not support the claimed disability it is taken as word from above and there is no way to refute such an opinion. In the true meaning of the VA's definition of "lay person" ALL VA employees (except medical staff) are lay persons. Why then are they allowed to opine negatively on medical opinions issued by doctors?"

They tried to knock me down many times with that statement- I am lay person -cant make medical opinions----blah,blah blah- so I began to consistently remind them (attaching the VACO 1997 documents) that-as a lay person- my husband's only diagnosis of cardiomyopathy(after 6 years being a VA patient) came from me, as well as my diagnosis of transcient brain ischemia and also inappropriate medication,all of which VA concurred with.

We claimants and veterans know the medical records far better then the VA people do-

"there is no way to refute such an opinion." But a claimant can-

it isn't easy but I have knocked down 4 or 5 VA medical opinions in last 11 years on my claims-

I didnt have the actual opinion -to do that-

and I knocked down a recent VA opinion without asking for the actual wording-

but I liked what it said- so whether VA parsed it or not- they made it easy for me to challenge-

and I do feel most VA opinions can and should be challenged.

I always keep in mind that when a VA doctor opines on a claim- their paycheck is signed by the VA so the opinion can be tainted by that fact.

When I finally obtained one VA opinion- after many years- ( I had called the doc 2 years ago and realized he still had a file and the complete opinion he wrote)

it was nothing like what I thought-

this VA doctor was supportive of my newer claim, but felt the VA would not allow him to opine again-

I had knocked down his opinion twice-

He had actually supported an additional claim I had at the time-yet VA had manipulated his statements.

No veteran should feel intimidated by someone who has MD after their name.

It helps to have an IMO but often a veteran can use common sense as well as some leg work on the net to

combat VA's "lay" interpretation ( as you correctly say-they are laypeople who ultimately control our claims)) of a VA doctor's opinion-

and -dont be like me- get the actual opinion and C & P results first- it might help you more than you think.

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