During the course of a Veteran’s claim for service-connected disability compensation, a Veteran is often required to attend an examination called a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination. The purpose of this examination is to advise the VA as to whether the Veteran’s current condition is related to military service and/or the severity of the Veteran’s current disability. The examiners conducting the C&Ps are required to obtain various certifications to show the VA that they understand the laws surrounding their examination and the requirements of such examinations. In many cases, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals will remand, or send a case back, to the VA for a medical opinion from an “appropriate” or “qualified” examiner. So, what makes an examiner qualified to conduct these C&Ps?
The VA will request C&Ps for many, if not all, conditions. These conditions may be orthopedic issues such as low back injuries, neck injuries, or knee injuries. The conditions may be cardiac in nature such as Ischemic Heart Disease or Hypertension. The conditions may also be mental in nature, such as PTSD or other various neurological conditions. However, for each examination, the VA requires that the examiner be appropriately qualified.
A Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) directive dated March 1, 2019, details the requirements for training and certification of VHA examiners completing a VA compensation and pension (C&P) disability examination. In short, it is the VA policy that all VHA examiners designated to complete VA C&P disability examinations must undertake and successfully pass the required VA C&P disability examination-related training and post-tests prior to conducting and completing these examinations.
Certification to perform general Compensation and Pension exams requires completion of five mandatory training course:
- DMA General Certification Overview
- DMA Military Sexual Trauma and the Disability Examination Process
- DMA Medial Opinions
- DMA Aggravation Opinions
- And DMA Gulf War General Medical Exam
In addition to the five mandatory courses, the following are further requirements for providers conducting the following specialized examinations:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder examinations
- Initial mental Health Disorder examinations
- Musculoskeletal examinations
- Traumatic Brain Injury examinations
If an examiner has not completed these required courses, he or she is not eligible to conduct that specific C&P and the C&P should be deemed insufficient. In many cases, an appropriate C&P examination will be the difference between whether or not a Veteran is granted service connection or an increase is granted. It is important to understand the required qualifications of C&P examiners when reviewing a C&P examination report.
The attorneys at Gardberg and Kemmerly understand how to determine whether an examiner is qualified and they know the steps to take if an examiner is found to be unqualified. If you have a claim pending before the VA, the qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys at Gardberg and Kemmerly want to help in any way possible. Please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call our office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama. We would love an opportunity to discuss your claim.