Forced MRB

PHS Officer

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Jason,
I am an active duty PHS officer stationed at a BOP prison. Age 61 in a couple of weeks with 23 years active duty. Just over a year ago I suffered a slipped disk then had to have a spinal fusion on my lower back to fix it this past February. I just finished physical therapy a couple of weeks ago, but a few days ago I discovered that someone at the prison turned me in to the PHS medical branch saying I was 'UNFIT" for duty. Medical Branch called and wants copies of all my medical records for the pasts three years and a letter of statement from me. They came right out and said I have no right of representation and said they were not on anyone's side but were just there to evaluate me. They said worse case would be to declare me as little as 10% disabled then they would recommend administrative discharge. Best case would be to declare me as fit for full duty. Anything in between is possible. What makes things worse is I have been having problems with one individual and have filed three complaints against this person. I won the complaints in the first two. The third was filed July 8, 2013 and is still pending. Note the date of the letter sent to PHS medical branch was dated July 8, 2013, but I was not allowed to see the letter or know who it came from. But such is life. In any rate, this indicates I have no support from the prison executives on my medical evaluation.
My desire is to get past the MRB and remain on active duty, but all of this MUST be in their hands by August 23, 2013. Which only gives me two weeks to get three years of medical records and statements from 13 providers, and one week to allow for mailing. OH, I forgot to mention, they want letters from EACH provider stating what they saw me for, what the condition was, etc, etc, and if they think it will impact my ability to function as a uniformed officer.
How do I go about finding an experienced lawyer in my area QUICKLY?
Thanks,
PHS Officer
 

PHS Officer

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Jason,
I am an active duty PHS officer stationed at a BOP prison. Age 61 in a couple of weeks with 23 years active duty. Just over a year ago I suffered a slipped disk then had to have a spinal fusion on my lower back to fix it this past February. I just finished physical therapy a couple of weeks ago, but a few days ago I discovered that someone at the prison turned me in to the PHS medical branch saying I was 'UNFIT" for duty. Medical Branch called and wants copies of all my medical records for the pasts three years and a letter of statement from me. They came right out and said I have no right of representation and said they were not on anyone's side but were just there to evaluate me. They said worse case would be to declare me as little as 10% disabled then they would recommend administrative discharge. Best case would be to declare me as fit for full duty. Anything in between is possible. What makes things worse is I have been having problems with one individual and have filed three complaints against this person. I won the complaints in the first two. The third was filed July 8, 2013 and is still pending. Note the date of the letter sent to PHS medical branch was dated July 8, 2013, but I was not allowed to see the letter or know who it came from. But such is life. In any rate, this indicates I have no support from the prison executives on my medical evaluation.
My desire is to get past the MRB and remain on active duty, but all of this MUST be in their hands by August 23, 2013. Which only gives me two weeks to get three years of medical records and statements from 13 providers, and one week to allow for mailing. OH, I forgot to mention, they want letters from EACH provider stating what they saw me for, what the condition was, etc, etc, and if they think it will impact my ability to function as a uniformed officer.
How do I go about finding an experienced lawyer in my area QUICKLY?
Thanks,
PHS Officer
Oh, I would like to add that the surgery was a success and I have recovered from the slipped disc with only a minor back ache now and then.
 

PHS Officer

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
So, do you fall under a specific military branch? Which one?
US Public Health Service. It's still a branch of the Uniformed Services just like Army, Navy, Coast Guard, etc. NOAA is also a branch that most people don't know about.
 

PHS Officer

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
What is the PEB?
If it is only a "Armed Forces" component, then no.
PHS, NOAA is the "UnArmed Forces component of the Uniformed Services.
Most people use Military when speaking of the "Armed Forces."
We don't fall under the UCOMJ because that is the Armed Forces.
I wish we were all under just one umbrella. It would prevent a lot of confusion.
 

ceilingfan

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
If it is only a "Armed Forces" component, then no.
PHS, NOAA is the "UnArmed Forces component of the Uniformed Services.
Most people use Military when speaking of the "Armed Forces."
We don't fall under the UCOMJ because that is the Armed Forces.
I wish we were all under just one umbrella. It would prevent a lot of confusion.
By what authority are they requesting your medical records? That's not something you are forced to give up without consent or court-order.

Have you signed anything? Don't sign anything without consulting an attorney. They may have told you that you don't need legal representation...but guess what, this is America--land of the free, home of the brave--and you have every right to legal representation. :)
 

cjmclark

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Oh, I would like to add that the surgery was a success and I have recovered from the slipped disc with only a minor back ache now and then.
Do you have anything from your PCM declaring that you are fit for full duty? It would seem so, given your recovery, and if so, this "unfit" allegation should be a moot point.
 

PHS Officer

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
ceilingfan.
A member does not have the right to withhold his/her medical record from a medical review board.

cjmclark.
My surgeon has given me a letter stating that I have been released for full duty, but the problem is he is a civilian and not connected to the uniformed services health services at all and has no final say so. What upsets me is not being able to be argue to the board with regards on being declared fit for full duty. Or even unfit for full duty. Some people would want to argue for disability retirement. My fear is being declared 10% disabled and then given a discharged. The PHS has been known to be rather unfriendly toward members when it comes to saving the government money in the long run.
I tried to call the two people who are the "contact people" for the review board, but after several tries, one of them sent me an email and answered one of the three questions I had. It is obvious they have no intention of answering questions or offering any assistance, other than telling me to send in my records. This same person sent me a copy of "my rights" but sent it in a .dat file, which I cannot open. Which is how I found this site. I googled for a copy of the rights.
 

ceilingfan

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
ceilingfan.
A member does not have the right to withhold his/her medical record from a medical review board.

cjmclark.
My surgeon has given me a letter stating that I have been released for full duty, but the problem is he is a civilian and not connected to the uniformed services health services at all and has no final say so. What upsets me is not being able to be argue to the board with regards on being declared fit for full duty. Or even unfit for full duty. Some people would want to argue for disability retirement. My fear is being declared 10% disabled and then given a discharged. The PHS has been known to be rather unfriendly toward members when it comes to saving the government money in the long run.
I tried to call the two people who are the "contact people" for the review board, but after several tries, one of them sent me an email and answered one of the three questions I had. It is obvious they have no intention of answering questions or offering any assistance, other than telling me to send in my records. This same person sent me a copy of "my rights" but sent it in a .dat file, which I cannot open. Which is how I found this site. I googled for a copy of the rights.
I don't interpret federal privacy law (HIPAA regulations, fourth and fourteenth amendments and Privacy Act of 1974) as exempting medical review boards, but I could be wrong. Regardless of your right to privacy, you must be offered due process. Neither of which, from what you are telling us, is being afforded to you.

A military service member is provided both privacy and due process within IDES...and I can't imagine you should not be receiving that in your medical review process.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
@PHS Officer,

Sorry for coming a bit late to the party....I missed your earlier posts.


Jason,
I am an active duty PHS officer stationed at a BOP prison. Age 61 in a couple of weeks with 23 years active duty.
With 23 Years active duty, you know that the minimum outcome is retirement based on 2.5% times 23? So, there is no issue with getting kicked out with 10% (as you alluded to, below).


They said worse case would be to declare me as little as 10% disabled then they would recommend administrative discharge. Best case would be to declare me as fit for full duty.
Maybe they did not understand your case. But, you will be found fit OR retired.


My desire is to get past the MRB and remain on active duty, but all of this MUST be in their hands by August 23, 2013. Which only gives me two weeks to get three years of medical records and statements from 13 providers, and one week to allow for mailing. OH, I forgot to mention, they want letters from EACH provider stating what they saw me for, what the condition was, etc, etc, and if they think it will impact my ability to function as a uniformed officer.
How do I go about finding an experienced lawyer in my area QUICKLY?
Thanks,
PHS Officer
While you would ideally give them evidence to consider your case initially, you can appeal after an initial determination.

As far as finding an attorney with experience in USPHS disability cases, I don't know anyone else who handles these types of cases with any regularity. I have appeared in 3 cases over the past few years and, oddly enough, I have 2 right now pending before the USPHS.
 

PHS Officer

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
They didn't say a word (that I can remember) about being able to appeal their decision. I do remember them talking about going to the VA afterwards if I wished to have a disability claim.
I'm not sure if they were aware of my length in service when they called as some of my active duty time was with the Navy.
I finally got around to all the places I had been treated at over the past 3 years like they requested, but some of them were not all that friendly about sending in the records. Especially the Dr.'s when they found out they had to write naratives on their care.
Thanks Jason.
Hope all goes well with the two USPHS cases you have pending.
I'll try and keep you posted on my progress.
David



@PHS Officer,

Sorry for coming a bit late to the party....I missed your earlier posts.



With 23 Years active duty, you know that the minimum outcome is retirement based on 2.5% times 23? So, there is no issue with getting kicked out with 10% (as you alluded to, below).



Maybe they did not understand your case. But, you will be found fit OR retired.




While you would ideally give them evidence to consider your case initially, you can appeal after an initial determination.

As far as finding an attorney with experience in USPHS disability cases, I don't know anyone else who handles these types of cases with any regularity. I have appeared in 3 cases over the past few years and, oddly enough, I have 2 right now pending before the USPHS.
 
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