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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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What Do You Guys Think


kennjj

Question

Hi I have been watching this site for some time now below is what I'm dealing with along with allot of other disabilities I am 60% at this time allot of 10% I have a IMO from Dr Bash that I have already turn in to VA my claim was at Prep for decision now it when back to gathering of evidence can I please get some feed back on this. I thank you guys in advance!! Berta I think I'm dealing with the same thing that your Husband when though concerning his heart condition, I'm sorry for your lost.

Ken

Military: 1979- 1999

I started going to Womack Army Medical Center in the early 90’s not sure when my Hypertension started I would say sometime in 1993-1994 that is when I started having shortness of breath through out the years I when on sick call many times for S0B I was referred a Cardiologist who found that I had a echocardiogram showing left atrial enlargement and nonsutain V- tach assessment was Hypertension in need of better control no indication to treat why I don’t know. My weight went from 175 to 211 my Unit Commander put in a special request Medical treatment for pathological Disorder before putting me on the weight control program during all this time my Blood pressure had not have been under control still no tests to determine what could be the problem moving on I was given a P-4 profile where I didn’t have to do any exercise with the Company, basically doing what ever I wanted to do all this stuff is attach. I was given a Medical Broad where they said I was fit for duty along with my P-4 profile where I did whatever I wanted to do, time went on I retired in 1999 in 2000 I had a EKG that showed some abnormal signs, in 2002 I had another EKG that showed Left Atrial Enlargement, Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, Abnormal EKG no tests to determine what the cause. Through out the following years I was given different medication one after another in 2006 I was tired of nothing happening knowing that as my time goes by that this high blood pressure was causing damage. Decided to go to the Va hospital thinking things would be different from notes that I have read when I started going to Fayetteville VAMC my potassium level was low, potassium chloride was added which kept my potassium within range still no test to determine what was causing my Hypertension just went from one medication to the other. Which brings me to the present time. I would say sometime in 2013 Dec I think, I was given a series of tests I guess that’s when they found out Hyperaldosteronism was going on and I was diagnose with Hyperaldosteronism told that my Hypertension have been fluctuating and difficult to control for a long time I started asking question about Hyperaldosteronism which until this day no one from VA or Womack have discuss with with me I asked Dr Tan my endocrine did I need to be concern I was told told he had release me back to my PCP and I needed to get with her so I emailed her though secure messaging where I was told that I got the results from Dr Tan so I needed to get with him until this day no one have discuss the disease with me I started reading and guess I found out why no one wanted to talk to me these messages that I had with them are enclose also what I have found out on my own and I was put on Spironolactone and that so far have kept my pressure within range for the most part.

These are the disability that I have suffered while all of this have been going on:

I have Hyperaldosteronism

High Blood Pressure

and Enlarge Heart

Adnormal Heart Beat (sustain)

ED

Gout

Headaches

Weight Gain And allot of other physical things that I’m sure this hypertension have had somethings to do with. Thank you!

I suffer from just about all the side affect of these disability from one time are other. And now I have Pulmonary heart disease.

IMO

Craig N. Bash M.D., M.B.A., Neuro-Radiology

4938 Hampden Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814

Phone: (301) 767-9525 Cell: 301-651-6392 Fax: (301) 951-9106

DrBash@Doctor.com

INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXPERT (IME) NEXUS OPINION 18 Dec 2014

To: Veterans Administration (VA)

Claimant Name

1979-1999

This patient has several under-rated conditions and as a specialist in the fields of IMOs and diagnosis with 30 years experience as a physician and a PGY-7 level of training I have carefully and compassionately reviewed this patient’s medical records on longitudinal view to determine if his current rating are correct concerning his cardiac, sleep apnea and TDIU as they relate to his experiences in service or secondary (inferred/implied) to service connected conditions or service connected treatments.

I understand that this opinion is partially justified based on the veteran's verified and corroborated account of what he experienced in service, much of that experience is within the competence of the veteran to report, and there is no reason in the record to doubt his credibility and many of his historical details have been corroborated by lay testimony.

I have looked for any new/first time/secondary conditions as they relate to his service time and I utilize the concept of reasonable doubt in accordance with the three-judge VA Court case [case Polovick v. Shinseki (Kasold, Hagel and Davis--22 April 2009)] concerning credible evidence. (Please note that legally inextricably intertwined medical problems are medical problems that have significant impact on each other as these are known as secondary conditions in the medical lexicon. Also known within VA rate circles as inferred claims)

I have reviewed this patient’s relevant and critical medical facts contained in patient’s medical records/testimony/lay statements/personnel records, conducted a 60-120 minute patient clinical interview history to document the effects of his disabilities upon his ordinary activities, imaging based medical examination (see below medical examination sections) and an in-person history/clinical interview. Thus I have had access to the critical relevant medical facts and have reviewed the pertinent relevant medical literature. I have advanced training including a 3-year Neuroradiology fellowship (2 fellowship years at NIH) following my 4-year radiology residency.

I shred all records after this report is produced which is in line with Federal/VA policy on duplicative historical medical records.

Facts/data:

Patient entered service fit for duty without any doctor-diagnosed illnesses.

Medical Diagnostic Codes OPINIONS:

(Please note: That VA guidelines on benefit of the doubt allow for a causative opinion to be formed at the 50 to 50% probability which is a legal standard that is much different than the usual clinical medical causation of 95%. Thus any reviewing physician should be aware of the VA guidelines in causation so that the patient has a fair analysis of service connection and causation)

Cardiac

He is currently rated at 10% for his hypertension (HTN) effective 10/1/1999, which is incorrect as he has a large heart due to his longstanding HTN. For example, his 2002 EKG shows left ventricular hypertrophy, which is a form of cardiac enlargement. His recent chest x-ray of 18 Sept. 2013 shows”…cardiac silhouette at the upper limits of normal for size… Dr. Radiology…”.

It is my opinions that his heart is enlarged due to his long-standing HTN and thus he should be rated at the 30% for his cardio-meglia as his records do not contain another more likely cause for his enlarged heart. This 30% should be retro-active as the patients records contained the 2002 EKG with left ventricular hypertrophy thus the rated erred (CUE).

CUE;

(a) Error . Previous determinations which are final and binding, including decisions of service connection, degree of disability, age, marriage, relationship, service, dependency, line of duty, and other issues, will be accepted as correct in the absence of clear and unmistakable error. Where evidence establishes such error, the prior decision will be reversed or amended. For the purpose of authorizing benefits, the rating or other adjudicative decision which constitutes a reversal of a prior decision on the grounds of clear and unmistakable error has the same effect as if the corrected decision had been made on the date of the reversed decision. Except as provided in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section where an award is reduced or discontinued because of administrative error or error in judgment, the provisions of §3.500(b)(2) will apply.

The above includes a three-pronged test to determine whether CUE is present in a prior determination: (1) "[e]ither the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before the adjudicator (i.e., more than a simple disagreement as to how the facts were weighed or evaluated) or the statutory or regulatory provisions extant at the time were incorrectly applied," (2) the error must be "undebatable" and of the sort "which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome at the time it was made," and (3) a determination that there was CUE must be based on the record and law that existed at the time of the prior adjudication in question.

This patient’s prior ratings decisions contain CUE for his heart rating as follows and this should be reversed:

OPINION RE: DECISION 2013

Error is assigning 10% and not 30% for his hearts.

1. The correct facts were in his claims file, as they were known at the time, but the statutory or regulatory provisions in existence at the time were incorrectly applied because the rater did not fully read the patient’s records which un-mistakably show left ventricular hypertrophy. The rater should apply the equipoise rule and grant the claim.

2. The rater’s error is "undebatable" and of the sort "which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome at the time it was made and the patient would receive more years worth of a higher level of disability.

3. This CUE is based on the record and law that existed at the time of the prior adjudication in this patient.

Sleep Apnea

Pt has obstructive sleep apnea as per Dr.Grant ‘s 2014 note with a prescription of 6 Cm H2O CPAP.

Pt had a diagnosis of asthma in 12/1996 with a code of 493.10 as per Dr. Torrens and in 1/1998 at Womack medical center medical visits for sleep disturbance and insomnia.

.

Obstructive sleep apnea is different than central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is due to an obstruction in the airway and his obstruction is likely significantly due to her sinusitis. Please note, that it is well known standard medical knowledge that sinusitis and snoring are root causes of sleep apnea. In fact, the article below shows that nasal obstruction was associated with a two-fold increase in sleep arousals and deep sleep time was decreased from 90 min to 71 min.

Zwillich CW ,

Pickett C ,

Hanson FN ,

Weil JV

The American Review of Respiratory Disease [1981, 124(2):158-160]

Type: Clinical Trial, Journal Article, Randomized Controlled Trial, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Abstract

Highlight Terms

Gene Ontology(1) Diseases(3)

Anecdotal observations suggested that poor quality of sleep is a frequent complaint during upper respiratory infections (URI). Nasal obstruction

occurs frequently during URI and causes sleep apnea in some infants. Sleep apnea disrupts normal sleep and could explain the complaints of poor

sleep quality during URI in adults. Accordingly, 10 normal men had full night recordings of sleep stages and breathing rhythm before and during

nasal obstruction. The order of obstructed and nonobstructed nights was randomized after a standard acclimatization night. During nasal obstruction,

time spent in the deep sleep stages decreased from 90 +/- 11.2 (SEM) to 71 +/- 12.9 min (p less than 0.05), whereas significantly more time was

spent in Stage 1 sleep (p less than 0.03). This loss of deep sleep during obstruction was associated with a twofold increase in sleep arousals and

awakening (p less than 0.01) resulting from an increased (p less than 0.02) number of apneas (34 +/-19 during control sleep versus 86 +/- 34 during

obstructed sleep). Apneas of 20 to 39 s in duration became 2.5 times more frequent (p less than 0.05) during obstruction. Oxygen saturation was

studied in the last 4 subjects using an ear oximeter. Desaturation (SaO2 less than 90%) occurred 27 times during control sleep compared with 255

times during obstructed sleep. These desaturation episodes occurred only during apneas. All men complained of poor sleep quality during nasal

obstruction. We concluded that apneas, sleep arousals and awakenings, and loss of deep sleep occur during nasal obstruction and may explain

complaints of poor sleep quality during URI.

It is my opinion1 considering every possible sound medical etiology/principle, to at least the 90% level of probability that his current sleep problems are due to his experiences that the patient had during military service with insomnia and sleep disturbance at Womack and his diagnosis of asthma for the following reasons .

1. Per his military records he entered the service fit for duty without any doctor-diagnosed illnesses.

2. He had medical visits for asthma problems in service and asthma can interfere with breathing should the CPAP should help nullify the asthma breathing complications at night.

3. He also has insomnia and sleep disturbance in service and this was likely the early symptoms/manifestations of his later in life diagnosis.

4. The literature below supports links between seep apnea and asthma due to airway collapsibility.

Difficult‐to‐Control Asthma and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

2003, Vol. 40, No. 8 , Pages 865-871

HTML
PDF (344 KB)
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Mordechai Yigla , Naveh Tov , Anna Solomonov , Ami‐Hai E. Rubin , and Dan Harlev

1Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Rambam Medical Center and Faculty of Medicine, Technion‐Israel Institute of Technology, POB 9602, Haifa, 31096, Israel

This study tested the hypothesis that asthma can promote obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by looking at the prevalence of OSA among patients with difficult‐to‐control asthma receiving long‐term oral corticosteroid (CS) therapy and examined some possible etiological factors. The study design was a prospective cohort study and was conducted in the pulmonary outpatient clinic of a tertiary care center in Haifa, Israel. Twenty‐two consecutive patients with severe unstable asthma, 14 on continuous and 8 on bursts of oral CS, in addition to their standard therapy for a mean of 8.9 ± 3.3 years, underwent a night polysomnography in a sleep laboratory regardless of sleep complaints. A standard questionnaire was completed upon attending the sleep laboratory. The OSA was defined as respiratory disturbance index (RDI) of ≥ 5 and typical complaints. The correlation between RDI to asthma and morphometric parameters was tested. All but one patient had OSA [95.5% prevalence], with mean RDI of 17.7 ± 2.5. The RDI values were significantly higher in the continuous CS therapy subgroup (21.4 ± 3.4 vs. 11.1 ± 1.6, p < 0.05]. The study group had above normal neck circumferences and body mass index. The former increased by 12.1% ± 3.1% to 29.8% ± 1% during the oral CS therapy interval but had no significant effect on RDI as a covariant. This study showed an unexpectedly high prevalence of OSA among patients with unstable asthma receiving long‐term chronic or frequent burst of oral CS therapy. It may be assumed that prolonged and especially continuous oral CS therapy in asthma increases airway collapsibility.

Read More: http://informahealth...1/JAS-120023577

5. His service insomnia was likely due to his sleep apnea.

6. His current symptoms are per the attached lay statements, which show chronicity of sleep symptoms.

7. His records do not support another more plausible etiology for his current sleep pathology or other risk factors (in or out of service) to explain his problems other than his service time insomnia and asthma experiences.

8. This opinion is consistent with the patient’s subjective lay statements, the objective findings/imaging tests/diagnoses.

9. These disabilities and his total VA medical disabilities clinical problems affect his ability to be gainfully employed.

10. This opinion represents sufficient and competent medical data and is comprehensive enough for the VA to establish a rating and MDC for this organ system problem without the need for additional work-ups or development.

11. This illness is permanent in nature and thus is not expected to improve with time as he will likely need CPAP for life thus should be assigned P and T status.

12. He should be rated for his asthma as it began in service.

Diabetes:

Diabetes is know to occur secondary to sleep apnea thus he should be rated for his diabetes as his records do not contain another more likely cause.

TDIU

He has not been working for several years do to his VA related injuries and illnesses.

He is not working and considering the effect of his disabilities on his employability his total medical pictures supports TDIU via the direct route due to the sum of his VA disabilities because the patient is unable to engage in employment of any type or in any situation due to his service-connected disability.

It is my medical opinion that this patient has a severe impairment in the ability to obtain or retain employment that would be considered both substantial and gainful by VA standards. The patient’s current service connected disabilities.

He is not able to work of any period of time due to his sleepiness. He also has serious cardiac dysfunction which requires medication frequent check-ups both of which interfere with his ability to work a regular schedule.

*** If more information becomes available via the VCAA at a later date it may or may not change the opinions rendered in this evaluation. Or if the VA decides that my recent pair of opinions is somehow still somehow deficient, in fairness to the patient, it would be ethical to allow me the opportunity to provide another addendum to this report prior to any final VA decision in order to correct any deficiencies.***

Respectfully submitted,

ELECTRONICALLY SIGNED

Craig N. Bash M.D. ‘86, M.B.A. ’81, G.M.E. ‘95

10 years as a VA accredited Claims Agent with both PVA and DAV (1997 to 2007)

Associate Professor of Neuroradiology

*****Please note that this opinion is academic in nature and as such is not meant to reflect negatively on any other professional who might hold an alternative professional opinion. The purpose of this report is also not meant for medical care or treatment and my opinions do not explicitly or implicitly guarantee that the VA will award any particular rating or benefit to the patient.*****

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Yep Dr Bash will raise Cue in a heartbeat if he feels that is warranted. :lol:

But my IMOs from Dr Bash did not address the IHD cardio issue.at all. It was solely for the AO DMII claim I had.

I had proven that already to VA myself.( malpractice causing the IHD, and primary cause of his death) FTCA/1151 awards

This is excellent

"Cardiac

He is currently rated at 10% for his hypertension (HTN) effective 10/1/1999, which is incorrect as he has a large heart due to his longstanding HTN. For example, his 2002 EKG shows left ventricular hypertrophy, which is a form of cardiac enlargement. His recent chest x-ray of 18 Sept. 2013 shows”…cardiac silhouette at the upper limits of normal for size… Dr. Radiology…”.

It is my opinions that his heart is enlarged due to his long-standing HTN and thus he should be rated at the 30% for his cardio-meglia as his records do not contain another more likely cause for his enlarged heart. This 30% should be retro-active as the patients records contained the 2002 EKG with left ventricular hypertrophy thus the rated erred (CUE)."

The VA ,in my husband's case ,said an X ray of his heart was normal. I proved he had hypertrophy. with other VA medical records....EKGs and ECHO.

They committed a CUE ( actually more than one CUE,) in my 1998 DIC decision by failing to rate or even give a diagnostic code to his 1151 heart disease.

They awarded for the IHD under Nehmer (not 1151) in 2012 due to AO..

They awarded my CUE filed in 2004 on the HTN..6 years at 10% in March 2015, but say they don't have to pay me for that.......... we will see.....

They still have yet to award accrued under 1151 but I have much going on there already and also Dr. Bash,in the diabetes IMos he did for me, raised PN and PAD as secondary to my husband's AO DMII.or to his 1161 stroke (I forget) so I have not claimed them yet.They could be claimed under 1151.

But I really hope for a proper resolve on my pending CUE because I really dont want to deal with them at all anymore.

The proper accrued amount (which I contacted the IG about because some VACO Chief of some Comp dept, called me last week and said they already paid me the full amount.. That is not true,. They must have sent the money to someone else.

When they do either properly award the 1151 CUE, or the IG finds out who got my benefits,( 16 months of 100% P & T plus SMC , 2 dependents)

then their statement as to no accrued for the 10% HBP will be correct.

I am sure this IMO will garner a proper cardio rating for you. The CUE might well provide a better EED .

I am not up to speed on SA at all but many others here can opine on that part of the IMO..

I

Edited by Berta
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Thank you Berta, I have been dealing with VA since the 90,s they are quick to give you 10% I was busy fighting to get my back, IBS, hips connected and all the time my high blood pressure was destroying my heart I always knew something was going on until I found this site I didn't know what a IMO was I don't know how all this is going to play out, my claim when from prep for decision back to gathering evidence I have given them everything they have asked for I'm thinking they are trying to come up with something to denied the claim. I retired in 1999 in 1998 I when though MEB in the write up from that board one of my problem was (Symptoms complex of Shortness of breath) I think that's when all my problem started in that report there were things like Electrocardiogram showing left atrial enlargement, treadmill test showing Ventricular tachycardia my weight when from 175 to 211 ( Womack Army Medical Center) I didn't know what those things met so from the 90's until 2013 I was walking around with heart disease so I decided to try the VA in 2006 to see if they could come up with what was causing my hypertension it took them from 2006 until 2013 to finally find out that hyperaldosteronism was causing my hypertension. In 2013 I was diagnose with Hyperaldosteronism from the VA this is what was causing my Hypertension, did not know that at the time I got the IMO I'm sure he would have included it. Now I have Pulmonary hypertension I'm sure it was cause by my left side heart failure. I know now about CUES, IMO, FTCA, 1151 so now the battle begin its a shame that so many Vets have to go though this there have to be a better way I mean the evidence is right in there face why do you have to go out and get imo"s this is crazy. I want to thank everyone on this site Ms Tbird thank you much!! So now I wait, at lease I'm not under a mushroom any more. And by the way I did get my IBS connected but they put it with my gerd 10% just crazy you have to laugh to keep from crying.Thanks!!!

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Yes sir it is pathetic that a veteran most endure so much suffering because of the VA.

What is going on now, in my opinion is that the VA is paying for its past sins.. For decades veterans have been getting the short carrot because there was no mass communication among veterans. All we had were service orgs who live in the VA and are submissive to the wants of the VA, not so much the veteran. How many 10s of thousands of vets never got a penny from the VA or a bandaids worth of treatment.. With the information digital age, we are no longer in the dark, and ignorant to the laws and regulations, and whats going on inside the VA.. many many, veterans are finding out, that they have been wrongfully denied, 5, 10, 20, 30, 50 years ago.. that wrongful denial which is not the veterans fault, can sometimes lead to BIG retro,,, Just imagine if you were the claims examiner who denied a claim 20 years ago, and it pops up again and have to deal with the veteran.. Do you think they will say they screwed you and just service connect and retro? I bet not,, I just cannot for the life of me imagine a claims rater going to a supervisor and saying, I am going to need to submit for payment to this veteran, seem 20 years ago we dropped the ball, and he has caught on.. looks like we owe him 655.000 and 42 cents, can you cut him a check?

Im sure it is a huge setback in the beancount when this happens.. \

In this present day and age, the govt seems to like playing the " were broke" card.. I dont buy it.. Broke countrys dont give hundreds of millions of dollars a year to other countries and keep thier armies at war for 15 years with no tangible fruits of war to show for.

Fight tooth and nail for what you have earned and always remember.. the VA screwed up .. not you

This is just the tip of the iceberg,.. they have pissed many veterans off, and word is getting around, and veterans are going out of thier way to help other vets not get shafted... The sins of the VA s past is here and its going to be very expensive.......

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Take iraq for example we went 3 times, declared victory twice, spent BILLIONS of dollars, then left the country worse than ever..

BUT THEY DONT HAVE FUNDS TO TAKE CARE OF VETERANS!!!!!

BULLSHIT!!!!!!!

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      I am still awaiting the notification letter with full details but, according to eBenefits, they have denied my claim for hypertension secondary to PTSD. The basis of my claim was not so much that the PTSD caused the hypertension (although I suspect it may have), but that my PTSD aggravates the hypertension. It looks like the decision was based on the C&P examiners opinion that my hypertension is caused by my weight, rather than my PTSD. His notes do not address the issue of the one aggravating the other. I guess I'll appeal the decision, although I'm not sure how that process works, or really what I'll be able to say, or do, differently to help my case. Below is a redacted copy of the C&P exam notes, if anyone would be so kind as to offer an opinion and/or advice. It bears noting that in his remarks, he states that in 2009 I weighed 160 pounds and my blood pressure was normal. However, I thought 140/90 was the upper threshold of normal. The evidence he is citing reflects a reading of 142/86. Does the VA use a different criteria, because 142 is not normal by generally accepted hypertension parameters. Also, he states that the BP readings used to diagnose are not present, but I did the medical records from when I was diagnosed and they show a reading of 150/110 at that time. So, I would have to say that his statement is factually untrue, based on that the evidence that I submitted.
      ---------------------------
      Hypertension Disability Benefits Questionnaire Name of patient/Veteran: Shake-N-Bank Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P Examination Request? [X] Yes [ ] No ACE and Evidence Review ----------------------- Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this document: [X] In-person examination Evidence Review --------------- Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) [X] CPRS 1. Diagnosis ------------ Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with hypertension or isolated systolic hypertension based on the following criteria: [X] Yes [ ] No [X] Hypertension ICD code: 00 Date of diagnosis: 2013 2. Medical history ------------------ a. Describe the history (including onset and course) of the Veteran's hypertension condition (brief summary): noted to have high blood pressure and begun on medication on 2013. Had normal pressure in 2009 and weight of 160 pounds. b. Does the Veteran's treatment plan include taking continuous medication for hypertension or isolated systolic hypertension? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, list only those medications used for the diagnosed conditions: lisinopril c. Was the Veteran's initial diagnosis of hypertension or isolated systolic hypertension confirmed by blood pressure (BP) readings taken 2 or more times on at least 3 different days? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Unknown d. Does the Veteran have a history of a diastolic BP elevation to predominantly 100 or more? [ ] Yes [X] No 3. Current blood pressure readings ---------------------------------- Systolic Diastolic Blood pressure reading 1: 138 / 82 Date: 8/23/2017 Blood pressure reading 2: 122 / 78 Date: 8/23/2017 Blood pressure reading 3: 126 / 80 Date: 8/2017 Average Blood Pressure Reading: 128 / 80 4. Other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs, symptoms and scars ----------------------------------------------------------------------- a. Does the Veteran have any other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs or symptoms related to the conditions listed in the Diagnosis Section above? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe (brief summary): 8/11/2017 209 lb b. Does the Veteran have any scars (surgical or otherwise) related to any conditions or to the treatment of any conditions listed in the Diagnosis Section above? [ ] Yes [X] No c. Comments, if any: No response provided 5. Functional impact -------------------- Does the Veteran's hypertension or isolated systolic hypertension impact his or her ability to work? [ ] Yes [X] No 6. Remarks, if any ------------------ No remarks provided. **************************************************************************** Medical Opinion Disability Benefits Questionnaire Name of patient/Veteran: Shake-N-Bake ACE and Evidence Review ----------------------- Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this document: [X] In-person examination Evidence Review --------------- Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) [X] CPRS MEDICAL OPINION SUMMARY ----------------------- RESTATEMENT OF REQUESTED OPINION: a. Opinion from general remarks: relation of hypertension to PTSD b. Indicate type of exam for which opinion has been requested: hypertension TYPE OF MEDICAL OPINION PROVIDED: [ MEDICAL OPINION FOR SECONDARY SERVICE CONNECTION ] b. The condition claimed is less likely than not (less than 50% probability) proximately due to or the result of the Veteran's service connected condition. c. Rationale: The pressures used to diagnose hypertension are not available but apparently were there in 2013 when he was started on medication. He has gained nearly 40 pounds of weight since 23009. This is the most likely caused of his hypertension and the PTSD is less likely than not. ************************************************************************* /es/ FRANCIS M REMBERT MD
    • By Shake-n-Bake
      I just had two C&P exams this morning and am trying to keep a positive mindset, but the glass looks half empty to me. Maybe someone else can offer some insight on my situation.
      Since April, I have been rated at 60%; 50% for PTSD and 10% for tinnitus. The claims process for those went pretty smoothly, really, and I was awarded my disability ratings in very short time. I have since then filed three additional claims. My intent to file was back in April, but I submitted the claims on July 25. These three claims are for hypertension secondary to PTSD, sleep apnea secondary to PTSD and for hearing loss. Today I had my C&P exams for the hearing loss and hypertension. I have heard nothing about scheduling a C&P for the sleep apnea.
      My first exam this morning was for hypertension. I was diagnosed with hypertension, by a private doctor, about 4 years ago and have been on medication since then and am currently being treated by the VA for my hypertension. My hypertension isn't very severe, but it is outside of normal parameters and has been this way consistently for quite a few years. Even though I wasn't officially diagnosed until 2013, I have (and submitted) evidence of prior medical records that show high blood pressure readings well before my actual diagnosis. I don't think I meet the criteria for anything more than a 0% rating, but that's all I really want, or need. I believe I have bradycardia (abnormally low pulse), as a result of my high blood pressure. My blood pressure has always fluctuated and spiked in relation to my PTSD symptoms, so I certainly think the PTSD aggravates my blood pressure, but I don't feel good about my C&P exam from this morning. The doctor was one of the weirdest people I've come across at the VA, so it was hard to get a good read on him. All he did was take my blood pressure 3, or maybe 4, times, all from my right arm, while I was seated. He wanted to know when I was first diagnosed and how many times they had taken my blood pressure during the visit in which I was diagnosed. I told him it was in 2013 and, although I didn't recall how many times they took a blood pressure reading, I did remember how high it was when I was diagnosed. I tried to discuss the evidence I had submitted to support my having actually had high blood pressure before my 2013 diagnosis, but he shut me down. He said anything that I sent in with my claim wasn't his concern. All he was doing was "checking the boxes" on my blood pressure exam and someone else would look at everything that was submitted. This doesn't make sense to me. Isn't the purpose of the C&P exam to look at the evidence, as well render an opinion? I have already been diagnosed with hypertension and am receiving treatment. I'm guessing my blood pressure readings from the C&P exam are within normal parameters...that's what the medication is for. I don't understand the point of putting me through this dog and pony show, but I certainly didn't walk out of there feeling good about it.
      Next, I had my audiology exam for my hearing loss claim. I just had a audiology exam a little less than 2 months ago from a VA contractor and was subsequently issued hearing aids from the VA about a month ago. As I mentioned earlier, I already receive compensation for tinnitus, so part of me feels like the VA has already conceded that I had sufficient noise exposure in-service to cause damage, but I have also heard of people winning on tinnitus and losing on hearing loss. Since I had just recently had an audiology exam, I was only given an abbreviated C&P exam for my hearing. The audiologist stated that the contractor had not "submitted a full report", or something to that effect, so she only needed to do a partial test today. She asked me a little about my in-service noise exposure, as well as about my civilian occupations. It was over pretty quickly. I didn't feel quite as bad, or confused about that one as the hypertension C&P, but both of them seemed rushed and indifferent. 
      When I got home, I logged in to eBenefits to check on something unrelated and decided to look at my claim status. It had gone from Gathering Evidence to Preparation for Decision, since the last time I had checked on it. How could it be in Preparation for Decision? Mind you, I just had two C&P exams a couple of hours before. There is no way those reports had been sent in and considered already, so it had to have moved to Preparation for Decision a day, or more ago. Since I have not been scheduled for a C&P exam for my SA secondary to PTSD, I suspect now that they don't plan to give me an exam for the sleep apnea. The fact that they'd already moved my claim to Preparation for Decision before my exams leaves me with the impression that my claims are doomed to denial. Realistically, both the hypertension and hearing loss should each be rated at 0%, so that won't get me an increase in disability pay anyway, but a positive decision on the SA would. I also need the 0% ones, though, because of their relationship to other problems I have.
      I'm a little confused by all of this and am certainly not feeling hopeful about my prospects at this point. Am I jumping to conclusion prematurely, or am I making a reasonable conclusion that things aren't going my way? It's been less than 30 days since my claims were filed and it's already been moved to Preparation for Decision before my C&P exams. I don't know what that means, but it doesn't seem good.
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    • I already get compensation for bladder cancer for Camp Lejeune Water issue, now that it is added to Agent Orange does it mean that the VA should pay me the difference between Camp Lejeune and 1992 when I retired from the Marine Corps or do I have to re-apply for it for Agent Orange, or will the VA look at at current cases already receiving bladder cancer compensation. I’m considered 100% Disabled Permanently 
      • 16 replies
    • 5,10, 20 Rule
      The 5, 10, 20 year rules...



      Five Year Rule) If you have had the same rating for five or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis. All the medical evidence, not just the reexamination report, must support the conclusion that your improvement is more than temporary.



      Ten Year Rule) The 10 year rule is after 10 years, the service connection is protected from being dropped.



      Twenty Year Rule) If your disability has been continuously rated at or above a certain rating level for 20 or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless it finds the rating was based on fraud. This is a very high standard and it's unlikely the rating would get reduced.



      If you are 100% for 20 years (Either 100% schedular or 100% TDIU - Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or IU), you are automatically Permanent & Total (P&T). And, that after 20 years the total disability (100% or IU) is protected from reduction for the remainder of the person's life. "M-21-1-IX.ii.2.1.j. When a P&T Disability Exists"



      At 55, P&T (Permanent & Total) or a few other reasons the VBA will not initiate a review. Here is the graphic below for that. However if the Veteran files a new compensation claim or files for an increase, then it is YOU that initiated to possible review.



      NOTE: Until a percentage is in place for 10 years, the service connection can be removed. After that, the service connection is protected.



      ------



      Example for 2020 using the same disability rating



      1998 - Initially Service Connected @ 10%



      RESULT: Service Connection Protected in 2008



      RESULT: 10% Protected from reduction in 2018 (20 years)



      2020 - Service Connection Increased @ 30%



      RESULT: 30% is Protected from reduction in 2040 (20 years)
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      • 53 replies
    • Post in New BVA Grants
      While the BVA has some discretion here, often they "chop up claims".  For example, BVA will order SERVICE CONNECTION, and leave it up to the VARO the disability percent and effective date.  

      I hate that its that way.  The board should "render a decision", to include service connection, disability percentage AND effective date, so we dont have to appeal "each" of those issues over then next 15 years on a hamster wheel.  
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    • Finally heard back that I received my 100% Overall rating and a 100% PTSD rating Following my long appeal process!

      My question is this, given the fact that my appeal was on the advanced docket and is an “Expedited” appeal, what happens now and how long(ish) is the process from here on out with retro and so forth? I’ve read a million things but nothing with an expedited appeal status.

      Anyone deal with this situation before? My jump is from 50 to 100 over the course of 2 years if that helps some. I only am asking because as happy as I am, I would be much happier to pay some of these bills off!
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      • 18 replies
    • I told reviewer that I had a bad C&P, and that all I wanted was a fair shake, and she even said, that was what she was all ready viewed for herself. The first C&P don't even  reflect my Treatment in the VA PTSD clinic. In my new C&P I was only asked about symptoms, seeing shit, rituals, nightmares, paying bills and about childhood, but didn't ask about details of it. Just about twenty question, and  nothing about stressor,
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