Enhance Your VA Medical Records

Post date: Nov 11, 2012 4:26:08 AM

Your communications to your VA primary care provider (PCP) are often rushed. The PCP is focused on the signs and symptoms that he or she believes are most important to keep you healthy. The PCP isn't likely to talk with you about your service connected joint problem but will probably be focused on things like your blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use and the sorts of things that may kill you.

With proper preparation, you can control some of the conversation and influence what is written into your medical records. Over the long run, these little notes are important to you when you want to review your claim and consider asking for an increase due to your condition becoming worse. If there are no records of your increasing pain or immobility, the person who is tasked to rate your claim won't have much evidence to go on.

Be prepared when you go to see your PCP or any other health specialist. I urge every patient to make brief notes...talking points...about the things that are most important to them. The key to success here is to keep these notes very brief. The notes are only reminders so that you don't forget to ask for what you want. Make your notes neat enough that you can hand them to your PCP and tell him/her "I'd really like to tell you a little about this. You may keep my notes if that helps."

You may ask that your PCP enter your discussion points into the record. Always be courteous and as brief as you can. You may explain that you will be seeking an increase of your rating % and that the notes made by the PCP will be of value.

You may also ask the PCP to write a statement that will support your request for an increase. You can also use the new "Secure Communications" to write a message directly to your PCP that will become a part of your records. Both of these techniques are described in detail further down on this page.

Every few months, get a copy of your recent medical records and review them for accuracy. These are your records and your benefits. It's up to you to ensure that they're correct.