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Dro Review Question



My POA's head bigwig claims there is no record of a meeting my vet rep had with my DRO.

The vet rep told me he specifically called her The DRO)'s attention to my two IMOS (Dr. Bash and Dr. Rabiee).

The SSOC they sent me stated there had been an informal meeting between the DRO and my vet rep.

NADA mentioned in the SSOC on the IMO evidence which cost me 2 thousand bucks-

NADA on the other medical evidence I sent in numerous submissions-

and of course none of the medical evidence or IMOs were listed as evidence.

MY vet rep called me to tell me the he discussed the IMOs with the DRO.

I hate phone calls because they are not hard copy.

Yet my POA has no proof even of the meeting- let alone the presentation of my IMOs.

But the SSOC says the meeting did occur.

Question- in a DRO conference with a vet rep doesn't someone have to document what was discussed?

Dont get me wrong- I have known this vet rep for 20 years and dont want to doubt him as to what he told me by phone but still the evidence (SSOC) clearly shows my 2,000 buck stuff was not even mentioned.

Am I Nuts? or should the IMOs have been reviewed and considered-

especially if a high level vet rep presented them to the DRO because VARO had already ignored them in a prior decision?

and should this critical type of evidence been documented during this DRO informal conference?

Thanks, Berta

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during an informal conference,there is no recording unless one of the partys requests it.That is why it is called informal.To omit statements,comments,and even hard evidence is not unusual in an informal conference.

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You better believe that the rep will make a written record of what he talks to you about over the phone though! I didn't realize it until I'd received my c-file last year. So if you have a meeting or a phone conversation, I would recommend taking very good notes for your records.

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Thanks Admiral-

didnt know that-

I guess it means that my IM0s,( I just talked to Dr. Bash yesterday about the additional one, IMO # 3, )

are all "New" evidence since they were never read or reviewed by the DRO.

I have no proof whatsoever that VA ever read them but tracking slips that show they got them - at least 12 times.

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olenavygoat-just saw your post-

Oh yes- I document everything- and get all the hard copy I can- this vet rep was very good about documentation when he was the boss locally-then he got a promotion to the RO office.

It just seems very odd to me that a critical meeting with my DRO produced no acknowledgement of the IMOs nor any documentation that they were considered.I dont know what they did talk about.

I know what he said went on.

I told Senator Craig about it-(my POA doesn't know that)and sent their Director a copy 0f that letter.

The ROs VSM- my vet rep told me, was also present at this meeting-3 people yet no documentation of what the meeting was supposed to be about-

why they failed to address my IMos for over a year at that point.

When I emailed and questioned this vet rep directly-as to what went down there-over that meeting - the response was almost like So what---

I heard my POAs lawyer is looking into this-

I dont know if I believe that or not-

I know my new vet rep- never heard a complaint about him-

(but he did ask me what IMO meant) Yikes!

I am staying on this because what happened to me- long story not appropriate to tell here-

might have happened to vets from the local VAMC regarding their claims-

I blew one of my whistles on them yesterday-

they forgot -due to 20 years dealing with VA I learned I have to have DOCUMENTATON-

on just about Everything.

Edited by Berta
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I know that YOU know all of this.

Pertaining to your question about informal conference see #14 below.

They state here in (f) that THE RULES of EVIDENCE do not apply IF YOUR REP IS AN ATTORNEY.

In my understanding of this and your case -- Your Rep. IS NOT an ATTORNEY, soooooo then for your reps. INFORMAL CONFERENCE the RULES of EVIDENCE WOULD APPLY. I highly doubt I could be of any help to you -- But

Berta, you'r so great I will always try to help.


14. Informal Conferences

Introduction An informal conference is provided as part of the DRO appellate review process. This topic contains a definition of informal conference and information on

• the purpose of an informal conference

• when to schedule and conduct an informal conference

• where and how to conduct an informal conference

• requesting, canceling, or rescheduling an informal conference

• who may attend an informal conference

• presenting evidence during an informal conference

• the Informal Conference Report, and

• handling

- additional evidence submitted during an informal conference, and

- new issues raised during an informal conference.

Change Date December 9, 2004

a. Definition: Informal Conference An informal conference is a tool available to the DRO and other Veterans Service Center (VSC) personnel during the DRO review process to ensure that

• all parties understand the issue(s) pending review

• the issues are focused and clarified, and

• the record is fully developed.

An oath or affirmation is not used for an informal conference.

Note: While informal conferences are not part the traditional appellate review process, direct communication with the veteran and his/her representative is not precluded in these cases and should be initiated in order to facilitate resolution or clarification about matters on appeal.

Continued on next page

14. Informal Conferences, Continued

b. Purpose of an Informal Conference The purpose of an informal conference is to

• clarify the issues the appellant wishes to appeal

• provide explanations, and

• identify additional sources of pertinent information.

c. When to Schedule and Conduct an Informal Conference Informal conferences are scheduled and conducted at the discretion of the DRO.

d. Requesting, Canceling or Rescheduling an Informal Conference A claimant may request, cancel or reschedule an informal conference in writing, by e-mail, by fax, by telephone, or in person. If this is done by telephone or in person, the DRO or employee receiving the request should promptly complete a VA Form 119, Report of Contact, to document the request.

e. Where/How to Conduct an Informal Conference Conduct an informal conference

• in person at the RO

- of jurisdiction, or

- nearest to the appellant’s residence

• by telephone, or

• by videoconference.

Informal conferences may be conducted in work areas as long as all participants agree on the location.

Continued on next page

14. Informal Conferences, Continued

f. Who May Attend an Informal Conference The appellant and his/her representative may attend an informal conference at their discretion.

Note: If the appellant’s representative is an attorney, emphasize

• the informality of the conference

• that rules of evidence do not apply, and

• that leading questions are permissible.

g. Presenting Evidence During an Informal Conference During an informal conference, the appellant or his/her representative may

• introduce evidence into the record, and

• make arguments and contentions with respect to the facts and applicable law.

h. Informal Conference Report Use the Informal Conference Report to

• document the informal conference, and

• describe

- all the issues in detail (Example: The veteran seeks a rating increase from 50 percent to 70 percent for post-traumatic stress disorder.)

- specific additional evidence required

- a summary of the discussion during the informal conference, and

- the course of action agreed upon by the parties.

Note: The Informal Conference Report should be placed in the claims folder.

Reference: For a sample of the Informal Conference Report, see M21-1MR, Part I, 5.C.16.

i. Handling New Issues Raised During an Informal Conference If a new issue is raised during the informal conference and a decision on that issue has not been made, refer it to the appropriate activity for development and a decision.

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"g. Presenting Evidence During an Informal Conference During an informal conference, the appellant or his/her representative may

• introduce evidence into the record, and

• make arguments and contentions with respect to the facts and applicable law"

This is what I was told would occur-

In spite of fact that the VARO had consistently ignored the IMOs up to that point- the informal conference -per VA regs- was to do the above-

Thats OK check this out Carlie- my other vet rep asked me if I had signed a DRO Review election form- I said yes- (2004) then he said in front of his vet who I was helping him with re the vet's claim-

"Remember you cannot submit more evidence if you elect a DRO review"-

(SAY WHAT?) I didnt want to embarass him in front of the vet- so I said who told you this and he said the Vet rep in the RO did-(his immediate boss)

After they left I clicked on M21-1 DRO stuff and emailed him the exact regs above-

and the stuff about new evidence re DRO reviews etc-and then he blamed the other vet rep ( a senior SVC) in emails to me for telling him that-

Copies of those emails are the dimes I dropped on their big boss yesterday-

This is the tactics behind assymetric parallel warfare- but on paper-

whatever it takes to get someone to read my medical evidence.

PS -I told Dr. Bash too ---

If they had knocked down his IMO somehow ---we could have combatted that-

but they didnt even do that- they have never read it= per the SSOC since I sent it to them in 2004.

If they dont read his additional opinion I am sending a bill for $4,000 to Governor Pataki.

The state of NY represents me and I went through this bull crap before with the DAV.

And won those claims anyhow.

Ticks me off that I am again going through this with a different POA-who I even did volunteer work for.

Edited by Berta
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