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EODMOMMY

Bva--how Long On Average For A Decision?

Question

I finally got my husband to call the VA to find out the status of his appeal. The lady was shocked, because it is listed as with the Decision Officer and it has been for two years! She didn't want to have it pulled, because you know what happens then, you go down to the bottom of the pile. But she made a note (at least she said she did) in the computer about it.

On average, how long does it take for the BVA to come down with a decision? I finally got a copy of a letter from our primary doctor saying that my husband's condition is chronic and it started while he was on active duty. It was faxed to our State VA Rep. who is suppose to represent us and send this info to Atlanta, but I am not impressed with this guy, he is the second one we have had, neither one ever communicated with us. But I have no idea if they BVA ever received the letter. Would it be wise to send another copy straight to the VA?

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I was looking for a sample Nexus letter on the web and came across this one testimony to the House Committe for Veteran Affairs. Boy what he talks about sounds real familiar, it is almost like a yo-yo effect. The BVA will remand something down and ask specific questions, the vet gets sent for another exam and a VAMC and the doctor still doesn't answer the questions and it can go on this way for several times. Back and forth. This is from 2000, so I don't know if it is still current on how the VA works.

Witness Testimony

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"It isn't in Nexus format, are they pickey about that?"

I feel the Nexus factor is the most important factor of most claims.

I was just looking at the letter and I need a better letter. He doesn't mention that his symptoms go back to while he was in the service. So they could deny SC, even though they know this has been going on since he was on active duty.

Problem is, most civilian doctors won't put themselves out on a limb to override or support another doctor's oppinion. I worked for doctor's too long, seen it happen.

The one person I need to get off his behind and do this is his cadiologist. He treated him while he was on active duty.

Can anyone direct me into the right direction of an example of what needs to be in the letter and such.

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Guest DON20906

I checked my contact at the BVA and the Board is now working appeals that were docketed in April-July 2004. Some VLJs are ahead of that curve. Some are behind.

I finally got my husband to call the VA to find out the status of his appeal. The lady was shocked, because it is listed as with the Decision Officer and it has been for two years! She didn't want to have it pulled, because you know what happens then, you go down to the bottom of the pile. But she made a note (at least she said she did) in the computer about it.

On average, how long does it take for the BVA to come down with a decision? I finally got a copy of a letter from our primary doctor saying that my husband's condition is chronic and it started while he was on active duty. It was faxed to our State VA Rep. who is suppose to represent us and send this info to Atlanta, but I am not impressed with this guy, he is the second one we have had, neither one ever communicated with us. But I have no idea if they BVA ever received the letter. Would it be wise to send another copy straight to the VA?

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Guest DON20906

If an appeal is remanded or otherwise diverted from the VLJ working it, it is supposed to be restored to it's place in docket order when it is returned.

I checked my contact at the BVA and the Board is now working appeals that were docketed in April-July 2004. Some VLJs are ahead of that curve. Some are behind.

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Maybe this would help- I am describing the IMO I got from Dr. Bash.

First he stated that he had reviewed Post service VA medical records,

past VA medical opinions and rating decisions,

and did a medical literature review.

He then stated his opinion on the veteran's long standing "uncontrolled and untreated" diabetes and also agreed with the brief recent opinion I had asked a VA doctor for (the doctor had treated Rod)

His then listed Special Knoweldge and gave his areas of expertise , adding that he had correlated his experience with MRI, CT scans, and nuclear med scans of thousands of patients with diabetes and cerebral trauma as to the veteran's medical records.

He listed Facts: as to other med info in the records and then added a Discussion of his opinion which included 7 points. Briefly stated here-

The veteran was exposed to Agent Orange and he referred to the Institute of Medicine 2002 Agent Orange Update as to DMII in Vietnam vets.

He again stated the veteran's documented abnormal glucose readings while in a prolonged fasting state.

He stated there was no other etiology for the veteran's diabetes but for AO.

He quoted Braunwald (a well known Cardiovascular medical treatise) giving a page number as to the same Peripheral arterial disease that Rod had as consistent with diabetes.

He referenced the autopsy and death certificate as well as statements made by two additional VA doctors as to the veterans heart and brain involvement from undiagnosed and untreated DMII.

He added a 10 page Curriculum Vitae.

In addition to his opinion and before I requested it I had found significant other medical information to support undiagosed and untreated DMII as well as I supplied copy of VA's own admission of misdiagnosing strokes, heart disease, and their inappropriate medication which the VA agreed in 1997 had caused Rod's death.(FTCA settlement) This allowed me to opine also in my claim that, since the VA had failed to diagnose heart disease, and strokes, and had given the veteran inappropriate medication in "multiple" medical errors that had "all" "hastened" his death (Section 1151 award 1998) Therefore it was most likely that the VA had failed to diagnose and treat the veteran's DMII.

A good IMO should cover what Dr. BAsh's did here-

His medical rationale and expertise that lent him to opine.

References to specifics in the veterans med recs, supported by medical treatise, a "more than likely" statement is in there too-as to the veteran's exposure to AO caused diabetes, undiagnosed (but prevalant from evidence in VA med records back to 1988)which then led to heart disease, strokes, and death.

However I did not need a service nexus-Dr. Bash did not need the SMRs-and the veteran's exposure was confirmed by Judge Richland years ago (Agent Orange settlement fund)

This is why the doctor would need the complete SMRs-in your case-to support the inservice nexus-

I hope this helps- a good IMO does not have to be long- mine is only 2 pages plus the Curriculum Vitae and also Dr. Bash called the VA doctor I got IMO from -and enclosed copy of that opinion too.

In my case prior SOCs and SSocs and other VA documents were highly significant to this IMO and I sent them to Dr. BAsh.

In addition to this opinion I spent the time to associate Rod's specific heart disease and then brain trauma to known medical facts as to the diabetic causation.I enclosed a diagram of two sides of brain showing the veteran's type of trauma and the medical association to DMII-

(not all brain trauma is due to DMII -of course) The submission I did of the heart evidence -I copied an autopsied heart-with LVH very similiar to Rods autopsy in full color into my statement and supported every single piece of medical evidence from the autopsy and the VA Echo as consistent with DMII and supported all of this with med treatises.

I correlated Rod's documented VA medical evidence with information from the Standard medical community to include the ADA, and the AHA and numerous other medical sources.

I went over ever single med rec many times and found that-even without the IMOs- the evidence supporting my claim was overwhelming.

I am getting a little off your question here but my point is that when there is evidence-

it can be found.It just takes long hours of reading and work putting it all together.

Vets -keep all of those SOCs and past decisions -I did, never dreaming I would need them again-in reading them carefully 6-7 years later-they revealed more info than I could see at the time-

And dont do what I did-years ago- I used to I believe what the Narrative said as to their "expert" VA opinions-

When I got the actual opinion it was often much different than I thought-

My claim was filed for Peace with Honor- what my husband wanted in his death. That does not come with a Section 1151 death.

Edited by Berta

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    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
    • Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
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    • I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:


      2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis


      2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.

      "...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.


      First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date. 

      If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues. 

       

      I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.

      It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.

      Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.

       

      Does this help?
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      The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

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