VA Expands Medical Forms Program to Support Faster Claims Processing
Previously, we have reported upon the importance of asking the doctor examining you during a compensation claim if he has reviewed the medical information found in your claims file (c-file) before he starts examining you and follow-on steps to be taken if he/she has not.
On the heels of it, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the adding of sixty-eight, new forms to help speed the processing of disability compensation and pension claims. This now brings the total number of these documents known as Disability Benefits Questionnaires (or DBQs for short) to 71. The purpose of the initiative is to better guide physicians in properly completing their reports of medical findings to ensure the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA — the Regional Office located in Philadelphia in our case) has exactly the medical information needed to make a prompt decision. Each questionnaire addresses a specific set of conditions and associated symptoms for diagnosis.
The forms are for the use of both VA and private physicians. Among its other claims system problems, we have heard getting doctors to do correct, complete medical examinations has been a constant bain for the VBA; and has undoubtedly contributed to maintenance of the backlog it has experienced for decades. Hopefully, such a proactive step will help in overcoming the problem.
Veterans who choose to have their private physicians complete the medical examination can now give their physicians the same form a VA provider would use . It should be noted it is very important physicians provide complete responses to all questions on the DBQs. For the record, the VA cannot pay for a private physician to complete DBQs or for any costs associated with examination or testing (unless that physician is working for the VA at its request).
For more details and to find the DBQ’s for download, click here. The newly released DBQs follow the initial release of three for Agent Orange-related conditions.
Consequently, we recommend that now in addition to asking about whether the doctor has properly prepared by examining your medical information in your c-file, you also ask if he is using a DBQ. The answer should be “Yes.”
VBA. <http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2280> Accessed 4 April 2012.
VBA. <http://benefits.va.gov/TRANSFORMATION/disabilityexams/> Accessed 4 April 2012.
As of 18 April 2012