Med Board Initiation

J. Atkinson

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Registered Member
Currently an E-7 with 15 years active service and was recently informed that a med board will be initiated for me as I'm no longer fit for sea duty. Multiple X-rays and MRIs came back with 50 degree kyphosis, 73 degree hyper lordosis, mild scoliosis, multiple bulging discs, short leg on one side and osteophytes with chronic back pain. I have multiple documented visits for my back since 2002. I initially went to a chiropractor in 02 and paid out of pocket just to get an idea of what I was dealing with. With the 2002 X-rays, the chiropractor pretty much told me what more recent 2009 and 2012 MRI's and X-rays show. When I approached my PCM in 02 he completely disregarded my concerns about my back, told me there was nothing wrong with my spine and gave me Motrin. This was after looking at the x-rays I provided from the chiropractor. I requested a second opinion at the time and he refused (documented in my record). I had an impact injury directly to my back in 2009 while on a boat and also had to recently disenroll from a resident training course due to blunt back trauma associated with the training program. I'm in the early stages of researching the process and was hoping for input, good bad or otherwise. I'm considering hiring a civilian attorney to help me with a solid narrative for the initial package. By presenting as much info as possible up front to the board, I'm hoping to avoid having to appeal at a later date. One of my concerns is that the board will try to say the major back issues were pre-existing. Hopefully, with as much documentation I have in my record it will be apparent that these issues were aggravated while on active duty. I'm hoping for disability retirement and will only appeal if they attempt to show me the door with severance pay. Anyone have any words of wisdom for my specific case? I appreciate the help and the insight.
Thanks!
James
 

maparker

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See 10 USC 1207a. If on active duty and you have at least 8 years of active duty, they cannot deny disability compensation by stating the condition preexisted service.

Mike
 

J. Atkinson

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Registered Member
See 10 USC 1207a. If on active duty and you have at least 8 years of active duty, they cannot deny disability compensation by stating the condition preexisted service.

Mike
Thanks for the reply, and that's at least some good news. After meeting with my PCM today, the MEB process has officially been initiated. I'm still somewhat confused on how the CG does its in house disability ratings. I know they mirror the VA ratings for issues that only prevent a mbr from being able to continue current duties. In my case I'm wondering how I'll most likely be rated since all of my issues are related to my back. Will they rate each specific issue i.e. bulging discs, muscle spasms, hyper lordosis, prominent kyphosis, degenerative discs, anterior wedging, or will they most likely rate my back as a whole? Just wondering if I'm even going to come close to that 30% minimum needed for med retirement. Thanks again for the info.
James
 

grizz13

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Thanks for the reply, and that's at least some good news. After meeting with my PCM today, the MEB process has officially been initiated. I'm still somewhat confused on how the CG does its in house disability ratings. I know they mirror the VA ratings for issues that only prevent a mbr from being able to continue current duties. In my case I'm wondering how I'll most likely be rated since all of my issues are related to my back. Will they rate each specific issue i.e. bulging discs, muscle spasms, hyper lordosis, prominent kyphosis, degenerative discs, anterior wedging, or will they most likely rate my back as a whole? Just wondering if I'm even going to come close to that 30% minimum needed for med retirement. Thanks again for the info.
James
The CG has nothing to do with an MEB unless there is a pending admin chapter... They may list everything as a whole, but as of right now, everything will be just speculation until you see your NARSUM. There is alot of hurry up and getting appointments and there is ALOT of waiting around, keep doind research on this site and ask questions as they come to you, plenty of people here willing to help!
 

J. Atkinson

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
The CG has nothing to do with an MEB unless there is a pending admin chapter... They may list everything as a whole, but as of right now, everything will be just speculation until you see your NARSUM. There is alot of hurry up and getting appointments and there is ALOT of waiting around, keep doind research on this site and ask questions as they come to you, plenty of people here willing to help!
Thanks for the reply. I was under the impression that the CG has its own IPEB panel, is that incorrect?
 

J. Atkinson

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Had my offical ROM yesterday. Can anyone make heads or tails of this and how these results could potentially affect my overall rating?
Lumbar Flexion: 90, 95, 95 no pain
Extension: 20, 20, 20 pain at L2
R Rotation: 45, 50, 50 no pain
L Rotation: 50, 50, 50 no pain
R SB: 25, 25, 25 no pain
L SB: 25, 20, 20 pain RL2

Thanks!
 

tsj12bbm

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Any update on your ratings or the process in general? I'm a Chief in the process also and man, I've never felt this clueless in my life. I'm already realizing this is going to be an ordeal since only 3 issues where listed on my NARSUM because they wanted it submitted quickly so they could shop my job. Now I have 5 other diagnosis they have to add. I haven't heard anything from anyone at EPM or PSC. I literally don't work and feel like a tool for it, but they don't want me there since I have a relief on board and that would confuse the crew with the "continuity of command."
Any insight into the process would be appreciated.

Tom
 

J. Atkinson

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Any update on your ratings or the process in general? I'm a Chief in the process also and man, I've never felt this clueless in my life. I'm already realizing this is going to be an ordeal since only 3 issues where listed on my NARSUM because they wanted it submitted quickly so they could shop my job. Now I have 5 other diagnosis they have to add. I haven't heard anything from anyone at EPM or PSC. I literally don't work and feel like a tool for it, but they don't want me there since I have a relief on board and that would confuse the crew with the "continuity of command."
Any insight into the process would be appreciated.

Hey Tom,

I'm expecting to get my findings back anytime now after two abeyences for requested additional med documents/tests. I feel your pain here, and just when I think I have a good handle on how this process works I learn something new. I can tell you that they are speeding up the process with us, which is a good thing. Another E-7 in my office had his case adjudicated in only 5 months, which is a big change in pace from years past. I ended up retaining civilian counsel from the very beginning of this process to help educate me, and he also drafted my NARSUM rebuttal. I would recommend going that route if you have any concerns or want to get a better idea of what to expect for unfit findings. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of it and he is a former CG JAG and went through this process himself, so he's very knowledgeable in that dept. As far as EPM goes, I haven't dealt with them at all. My replacement was ordered in this Summer and I will only be dealing with them if I request retention on active duty after my findings come back. Sorry to hear that you're in this position, but I'm here to help if you need any other inside info. Good luck with your case.

James

Tom
 

tsj12bbm

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So since you're requesting Home Awaiting Orders, I assume you got your findings back? Did you think they were fair and accurate?
 

J. Atkinson

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My civilian atty informed me today that I'll be getting the call with findings next week. Stay tuned!
 

J. Atkinson

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Just received my findings. Recommended 20% and involuntary separation with severance. 10% for c-spine ROM and 10% for t/l spine ROM. Not the results I was hoping for, but at least the waiting game is over.
 

tsj12bbm

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Wow. How many years of service do you have? Do you also have Sciatica? I just met a guy that only got 10% for his t/l ROM and they hadn't added his sciatica as unfitting. On his appeal to a formal PEB his lawyer got bilateral sciatica added 10% each side and he got rounded up to the magical 30%.
Are you taking it to a formal? You really don't have anything to lose since the severance pay is the same whether 0, 10 or 20.
Some days I just want this over and think that I'll take whatever they offer and say thanks, but then I realize they broke me and I have to live in pain the rest of my life so screw that, I'm fighting for an accurate assessment and ratings no matter how long it takes.
Don't get me wrong. I love the Coast Guard. I've enjoyed 99% of my service and the people I've worked with, where else would I have gotten paid to drive fast boats and a 110' yacht, but I'm quickly seeing that this(PDES) is an area that we are way behind the curve on.
What did your civilian counsel say?
 

J. Atkinson

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Haven't heard back from my civilian counsel yet, but it's not looking good. I attempted to add sciatica (piriformis syndrome) as unfitting on my left side early on through my initial NARSUM rebuttal. The IPEB gave me the opportunity to pursue and ordered a nerve conduction study which came back negative. I still have nerve issues with prolonged standing/sitting but not really a way to prove it. With that said, I don't really have any other avenues to pursue any other unfitting conditions above and beyond what the IPEB is recommending. Weighing all my options now, but other than buying a few months of pay, taking my case to a formal board doesn't really seem to be practical at this point.
 

NavyRecruiter84

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I'm just repeating what everyone has been telling me since day 1: Request a formal board, you have nothing to lose! in the mean time, get more documentation on your conditions. Get referred to an ortho specialists, figure out what is wrong with your back. 15 years, E-7, is not worth just a big paycheck; you need to fight for retirement, Chief.

"I'm hoping for disability retirement and will only appeal if they attempt to show me the door with severance pay. Anyone have any words of wisdom for my specific case? I appreciate the help and the insight.
Thanks!
James "

Don't back off, why live the rest of your life in pain from service, and no compensation? 30% gives you tri-care for life for you and family as well
 

J. Atkinson

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Ok, so I received my hard copy findings today and there is an obvious mistake with the rating code they attached to my unfitting conditions. Basically, they gave me the lesser % (10) when my unfitting condition is in the VASRD at 20%. This coupled with my c-spine ROM (10%) puts me at 30% for retirement. Needless to say, reconsideration request goes in next week. Update to follow......
 

tsj12bbm

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Well, that's something positive. Good luck and let us know how it goes. I had to go to the clinic to meet with the Dr yesterday and basically the CG Doc is redoing my entire NARSUM. I think it's a positive thing that's going to save me trouble later on, plus he did my ROM and after sitting in a car for 2 hours I'm sure my results are favorable. I'm having a epidural block on Wednesday so hopefully I won't be hurting as bad. Kind of nervous about having a long needle infected into my spine, didn't help that I googled it and watched a You Tube video.
Good luck on the reconsideration brother!
 

Warrior644

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Ok, so I received my hard copy findings today and there is an obvious mistake with the rating code they attached to my unfitting conditions. Basically, they gave me the lesser % (10) when my unfitting condition is in the VASRD at 20%. This coupled with my c-spine ROM (10%) puts me at 30% for retirement. Needless to say, reconsideration request goes in next week. Update to follow......
Good deal, but indeed interesting; whatever happened to quality control procedures for validation of content? ;)

Nonetheless, never default acceptance to potential injustice whether championing for well-earned and well-deserve military healthcare benefits now or after military separation/retirement.

To that extent, as the historical statement goes..."you only have one LIFE to live"...and it's best to maximize all healthcare treatment opportunities while you are still capable to do so.

Thus, I quite often comment that "possessing well-informed knowledge is truly a powerful equalizer."

Best Wishes!
 
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