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Sec. 3.328 Independent Medical Opinions.

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[Code of Federal Regulations]

[Title 38, Volume 1]

[Revised as of July 1, 2008]

From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access

[CITE: 38CFR3.328]

[Page 250]



PART 3_ADJUDICATION--Table of Contents

Subpart A_Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity


Sec. 3.328 lndependent medical opinions.

(a) General. When warranted by the medical complexity or controversy

involved in a pending claim, an advisory medical opinion may be obtained

from one or more medical experts who are not employees of VA. Opinions

shall be obtained from recognized medical schools, universities, clinics

or medical institutions with which arrangements for such opinions have

been made, and an appropriate official of the institution shall select

the individual expert(s) to render an opinion.

(b) Requests. A request for an independent medical opinion in

conjunction with a claim pending at the regional office level may be

initiated by the office having jurisdiction over the claim, by the

claimant, or by his or her duly appointed representative. The request

must be submitted in writing and must set forth in detail the reasons

why the opinion is necessary. All such requests shall be submitted

through the Veterans Service Center Manager of the office having

jurisdiction over the claim, and those requests which in the judgment of

the Veterans Service Center Manager merit consideration shall be

referred to the Compensation and Pension Service for approval.

© Approval. Approval shall be granted only upon a determination by

the Compensation and Pension Service that the issue under consideration

poses a medical problem of such obscurity or complexity, or has

generated such controversy in the medical community at large, as to

justify solicitation of an independent medical opinion. When approval

has been granted, the Compensation and Pension Service shall obtain the

opinion. A determination that an independent medical opinion is not

warranted may be contested only as part of an appeal on the merits of

the decision rendered on the primary issue by the agency of original


(d) Notification. The Compensation and Pension Service shall notify

the claimant when the request for an independent medical opinion has

been approved with regard to his or her claim and shall furnish the

claimant with a copy of the opinion when it is received. If, in the

judgment of the Secretary, disclosure of the independent medical opinion

would be harmful to the physical or mental health of the claimant,

disclosure shall be subject to the special procedures set forth in Sec.

1.577 of this chapter.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5109, 5701(b)(1); 5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(3))

[55 FR 18602, May 3, 1990]


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