The Crazy-Ass VA - Part 3
I had a VA C&P exam, for something that isn’t on my list of complaints, let me explain.
It’s no secret that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, but I have been struggling to get them connected to my active-duty service. I submitted several years ago and was blanketly denied for a bunch of stuff that the VSO submitted me for. It was my first submission, so I wasn’t worried about it. Fast forward to modern times, and I submitted again, this time with a ton of evidence. They sat on it for a long time and then kicked it back as denied because my “evidence is irrelevant”. Fast forward to November, which is a good 2-3 months from when it was denied, and I get a call from Veterans Evaluation Services (VES), which is one of the companies the VA uses to handle C&P exams, stating that they need to do a C&P exam for, you guessed it, Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid arthritis. They wanted me to go 60 miles to the north, which is within the 100-mile limit that they have, but I live in Northern Virginia, and sixty miles to the north can be 2-3 hours or more, depending on the time of the day and where I have to go. All this was covered in the previous post.
I asked for a closer appointment and that was today.
I arrived 20 minutes early for my appointment because if you are not 15 minutes early, you are late. I was the only person besides the examiner, and she greeted me quickly and brought me straight back to get the show started. We started with the questions for Fibromyalgia first and then the questions for the RA. Once the questions were completed, we jumped straight into the physical exam. A goniometer was used for the physical examination part. The examiner started with my neck with measurements of movement, moving my neck to the front, back, left, and then right. The rest of the exam was the same, measuring the movement of all the major joints. Then she looked for tenderness in any of the 18 points that are usually associated with Fibro. The RA physical exam was the same for the most part, with the questions part being more focused to RA instead of Fibro.
The exam was well over an hour, which is the longest C&P examination that I have had, with the shortest being under five minutes (for my foot, which they denied). I now know that I could have complained to the VA about the less than five-minute ‘exam’ and I wish I would have.
The Veterans Benefits subreddit suggests the following as soon as possible after a bad examination/examiner:
- Get the name of your examiner.
- Find out your examiner’s experience/specialization(google is often good for this).
- Write out a Memorandum for Record (MFR) and detail why the examiner was bad.
- Call the VA at 1-800-827-1000.
- Read them your MFR and tell them you are requesting another C&P exam.
- Upload your MFR to your claim.
- Leave a Google review of the doctor to help other veterans.
The MFR is a letter in which you detail what went wrong during the exam. Your letter should stick to the facts and be specific. There is no place for “FEEL or FELT in this letter! It should also NOT be a rambling rant, full of expletives!
Your letter should be done on a VA Form 21-4138.
For that particular exam, I drove 45 minutes to the examiner and was taken to a tiny exam room. I was in the room for about 2 minutes alone, then a guy came in, introduced himself, and asked me when I hurt my foot, I told him in boot camp, and he typed that in and said, alright we are done, thank you. WTF
I mean what in the whole hell was all that bull shit. And if that is all you wanted, why can’t we do it over the phone, via mail, or hell, there is this new thing called Zoom, or tele-med? That exam just pissed me off as it was a total waste of my time and the time of everyone involved. I mean this dude, didn’t touch my foot, didn’t ask me to remove my shoe or sock, hell, he didn’t even ask me a second question.
No wonder veterans get pissed about how the VA works and give up totally on the entire process. The VA needs to be overhauled and retooled to work in the modern world.