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Va Extends Routine Future Examinations Schedule By Three Years


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VA EXTENDS ROUTINE FUTURE EXAMINATIONS SCHEDULE BY THREE YEARS VA will now schedule routine future examinations at five-year intervals instead of two-year intervals hoping to cut claims backlog.

by Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org

-------------------------

On the third of this month we brought you this story:

BRADLEY MAYES OUT AS VA'S HEAD OF COMPENSATION AND PENSION (C&P) SERVICE -- Tom Murphy has been appointed Director of the Compensation and Pension Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Many wondered what Murphy would bring to the table at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).

Now, it appears one of his first acts was to extend the routine future examinations schedule by three years.

VBA Fast Letter is posted below.

-------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Veterans Benefits Administration

Washington, D.C. 20420

July 29, 2010

Director (00/21) Fast Letter 10-14 Revised

All VA Regional Offices and Centers

SUBJ: Procedural Change Regarding Routine Future Examinations

Revision

This fast letter is revised to comport with 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 3.344. We changed the information on handling the results of a routine future examination on page 2.

Purpose

At the recent VBA Leadership Workshop, a recommendation was made to modify compensation claims processing procedures to schedule routine future examinations at 5-year intervals instead of 2-year intervals. This fast letter implements this procedural change to aid in the reduction of the rating-related claims inventory.

Procedure

This procedural change applies to reexaminations under 38 CFR §3.327 and is effective immediately. Claims should be thoroughly analyzed to determine if a routine future examination is necessary. Once it is determined that a routine future examination is needed, schedule the examination 5 years from the date of the rating decision, with the following exceptions:

o Prestabilization rating decisions under 38 CFR §3.327(b)(1).

o Discharge from military service due to a mental disorder caused by traumatic stress under 38 CFR §4.129.

o Malignancies that require reevaluation 6 months following cessation of treatment for active disease.

o Any other future examination required under other sections of 38 CFR Part 3 and Part 4.

38 CFR §3.327 states that reexaminations, including periods of hospital observation, will be requested whenever VA determines there is a need to verify either the continued existence or the current severity of a disability. Reexaminations will be required if it is likely that a disability has improved, or if evidence indicates there has been a material change in a disability or the current rating may be incorrect.

Routine future examinations established prior to the date of this fast letter (excluding the exceptions listed above) will be automatically rescheduled for 5 years from the date of the rating decision through a software program. Regional offices will be notified when this has been completed. Until notified, all routine future examinations that mature should be advanced to a date 5 years from the date of the rating decision that established the need for the routine future examination.

Per 38 CFR §3.344(a), when the results of a routine future examination (set at 5 years out) show improvement of a disability that is subject to temporary or episodic improvement, a reduction in evaluation cannot be made based on only one examination, unless all the evidence of record clearly warrants the conclusion that sustained improvement has been demonstrated. The second examination should be scheduled for 18, 24, or 30 months from the date of the new rating decision per 38 CFR §3.344(b). Note that the provisions of 38 CFR §3.344(a) and (b) do not apply to disabilities which have not become stabilized and are likely to improve. Reexaminations showing improvement in these disabilities will warrant reduction in rating.

Adjudicate and promulgate all routine future examinations under end product 310 and 810 work items.

Point of Contact

Questions about this fast letter should be submitted to VAVBAWAS/CO/212A.

/S/

Thomas J. Murphy

Director

Compensation and Pension Service

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every health problem I have gets worse with time..

:blink:

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I do think this will help with the backlog, Being rescheduled every 5 years seems more reasonable to me than every 2 years. It won't affect your health, since you still go to the doctor. It is only to reevaluate your current rating.

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I think they should send out letters that can be completed by treating Docs. If you have a doc who has treated you for the last 5 years on a routine basis they should simply ask if you condition has improved, become static or worsened. If in his judgement then C&P is in order if static or worse then no C&P and life goes on. Think of the money they could save on exams and manhours at the RO.

If you have no treating doc (i do not see why anyone would not if they have a disability) then C&P. This would stream line the process. Because if you are seeing a specialist every month, every three or six months for the claimed condition then why spend the money on an exam and complete review by a RO rater?

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I think this new interval for examinations is designed to save the V.A. money. Remember that a veteran cannot win an increased rating unless the veteran files a claim for increase and provides evidence of increased disability. How many veterans are out there that have requested another examination and been turned down? Tons, I'm sure. I know my husband made a couple of written requests for reexamination and was told by V.A. in writing that they could not order a routine examination on him.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Mone is God at the VA. Money first, then staff, then patients. This is what cost driven medical looks like. They already ration care.

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