Vet Resource Group

Why You Need An Independent Medical Exam

An Independent Medical Exam, or often referred to as an IME, unlike a Compensation and Pension Exam (C&P Exam), is a medical exam performed by a doctor with no connection to the VA or the veteran.  Since the medical exam is performed by someone other than your primary care physician, the VA often puts more stock into this independently presented evidence.

VA judges and adjudicators rely heavily on medical examination reports in their decision making. This is one reason why obtaining an independent medical examination is crucial to successfully obtaining a favorable VA decision.  Independent Medical Exams are used to establish the degree of impairment attributable to a service-connected condition so the proper disability evaluation can be assigned.  As many veterans will attest, obtaining affordable medical exams, can be a difficult task. Finding a medical expert also well-versed in the VA’s requirements and documentation standards, can be even tougher.

Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) are VA examination reports relied on by adjudicators and judges in assessing a Veteran’s service-connected disabilities. The DBQ questions are very specific and closely mirror regulations to determine what specific evaluation should be assigned to a Veteran’s service-connected condition. Most DBQs are about 5-10 pages long. Typically private doctors choose to not to complete the DBQs because they are not familiar with the VA claims process and multiple page DBQs.  Using the correct and properly completed DBQ is an essential part of any Independent Medical Exam.  Completed poorly or incorrectly, a DBQ can substantially hinder claim rating success.

Difficulties Obtaining fair and unbiased VA C&P Examinations and Opinions: The VA has a statutory “duty to assist” veterans in scheduling them compensation and pension (C&P) examinations to determine whether the Veteran is eligible for benefits. While the VA has a duty to assist, in many instances this “duty” unfavorably impacts veterans from receiving a fair and unbiased exam or opinion.  This “duty” includes assisting veterans with obtaining C&P examinations and medical opinions.  In most cases, the VA uses VA medical center C&P staff to conduct the exams and opinions. However, in recent years the VA began contracting out its C&P examinations to 3rd party examining companies such as QTC, VES, etc. In either instance, the examiners tend to be calloused towards Veterans. It’s not uncommon the examiner doesn’t even look at the medical history before rendering their unfavorable opinions. A favorable independent medical opinion is a way to combat an unfavorable exam done by a VA medical provider. Vet Resource Group bridges this gap and provides Veterans with reasonably priced and unbiased examinations.

For these reasons, and many more, a veteran MUST be proactive in providing supporting evidence to the VA. This is where we come in.  Vet Resource Group was established and developed to bridge the gap between the veteran and independent medical experts well-versed in VA requirements, “leveling the playing field”.