Will Your Medical Consulting Firm Doctors Be My New Doctors?

For many people, a successful VA disability benefits claim hinges on their ability to link their health condition to their military service. While there are times when this connection is not in dispute, some veterans will have their claim denied without some form of proof. That is where a nexus letter comes in.

A doctor can provide you with a nexus letter that highlights your disability and explains the link to your military service. During this process, they will review your records and examine you to get a better understanding of your health. When you work with Elite Medical Review Associates, our recommended physicians can provide independent medical opinions for veterans without the need to continue treatment with them in the future.

Is the Doctor That Wrote My Nexus Letter Now My Primary Care Physician?

When you seek out a doctor to write your nexus letter, you are asking for them to provide your VA disability claim with vital support. There is nothing in this relationship that would lead that doctor to serve as your treating physician moving forward. In fact, the medical professional who ultimately drafts your letter might not be a doctor at all.  Retaining the services of a doctor is like hiring an expert in your case.   No doctor-patient relationship is established, and this also means that the confidentiality of a doctor-patient relationship also does not apply.

Other medical professionals outside of physicians and general practitioners have the ability to prepare independent medical opinions for veterans. This is true for specialists like psychiatrists as well as non-doctors like nurse practitioners or physician assistants.

The important thing to remember is that the party that writes your letter does not serve in any capacity as your treating doctor. You do not keep them on as your regular doctor, and they might not be willing to take on new patients in the first place.

Of course, you have the opportunity to continue treatment with the private physician who writes your nexus letter. But often that is not practical as typically these experts are located throughout the country and are not necessarily in your town or city.  If you are like many veterans, the odds are good that you already receive much, if not all, of your medical care through the VA. It is possible that securing this letter is the extent of the help you will need from a private physician.

What Kinds of Doctors Can Write Nexus Letters?

There are no limitations on the type of doctors the VA will accept a nexus letter from. While your family doctor is authorized to prepare a nexus letter in your case, they might not be willing to do so. What’s more, the specific nature of your disability might make it important that you have the support of a specialist.

Specialized doctors can be invaluable when it comes to establishing a nexus in a disability benefits case. A psychiatrist is in a uniquely strong position to explain how an event from your military service impacted your mental health. Likewise, a podiatrist is in the best position to establish how your foot injury is directly related to an accident during your time in the military.

You also have the option to seek out help from medical professionals other than doctors. A physician assistant goes through training similar to that of a doctor, although they do not put in as much time as an M.D. They have the right to practice medicine in a limited way, and this can include writing nexus letters. The same is true for nurse practitioners who have advanced nursing degrees and some ability to see patients independently. A nurse practitioner could also author your nexus letter.

There are some limitations on the types of healthcare professionals allowed to submit these letters to the VA. While some people in the healthcare field—including nurse practitioners—may be able to submit a letter without being a doctor, many others cannot. Generally, the VA will not approve of acupuncturists in most cases.

Are Letters Always Necessary?

There is nothing within the VA disability claim process that requires you to seek out or secure a nexus letter. In fact, certain disabilities are considered to be automatically linked to your time in the military, depending on when and where you served. In these cases, an independent medical opinion for veterans is unnecessary 

For everyone else, having a letter written by a doctor could be crucial to the success of a claim. When it comes to numerous types of disabilities, finding a service connection can be difficult without the help of an experienced medical professional.

A strong nexus letter should include a number of important elements. It should start with a clear statement of your medical history. This history should be thorough and filled with details from your medical and service records. These details should paint a picture of your condition to the claims adjusters responsible for your case.  It should recite review of the claims file, too.

Laying out your medical history and the details of your diagnosis is only the first step. For a letter to have an impact on your case, it will also need to provide an array of supporting evidence. In addition to medical records, this might include things like “buddy letters” from a fellow servicemember that confirm the specifics of your injury. A doctor might also include references to medical research and scholarly journals that support their findings.

A nexus letter is not complete without a strong conclusion. While it does not have to state with certainty that your disability is directly connected to your military service, there should be a substantial link. In general, your nexus doctor should conclude it is as likely as not that your disability is service-connected.

What Do Letters Cost?

The support of a physician during the claims process can be a game changer, but you will still need to pay for their services. The cost of a letter can vary dramatically, with your physical location playing a part in these costs. In general, you can count on paying more when your options for local doctors are limited.  Whatever the cost, it is small in comparison to the upside of winning tax-free VA benefits.

Other factors besides geography will also come into play. The size of your medical file could be important, and the same is true for factors like the severity of your condition or your need for a specialist.

Unfortunately, for many veterans, the cost of finding a doctor to perform this service can be overwhelming. This is often the case among those unable to work due to the extent of their disability. For that reason, we connect veterans and doctors for a reasonable flat fee.

The Challenge of Securing a Nexus Doctor

The reality for many veterans is that finding a doctor to write a nexus letter can be difficult. Many rely exclusively on the VA for their medical care and lack a connection to a private physician. While the VA has an obligation to support you when seeking disability benefits, the amount of help they are able to provide is generally lacking.

The VA does not write nexus letters. Instead, if they have questions about the connection between your health issue and your military service, they ask for you to take part in an examination. That word is often used loosely, as these examinations can involve little more than asking you questions. The failure to thoroughly go over your health issues can be enough to cause your claim to be denied.

Looking for support outside of the VA is also rarely simple. There are no prohibitions on the type of doctors that are allowed to submit a nexus letter, but that does not mean every physician will be willing to help. The VA benefits system is complex, and many doctors are unwilling to prepare nexus letters. Further complicating this, the doctors who understand this system and might be available to help often do not advertise themselves as nexus doctors.

The good news is that you do not have to find a nexus doctor on your own. Our consultants are ready to help you identify the appropriate medical professional that fits your needs. Let Elite Medical Review Associates assist you in obtaining an independent medical opinion for veterans.

We Can Connect You to Nexus Doctors – Call Our Consultants Today

It is not always clear how best to proceed with your medical care as you navigate the VA disability benefits process. While you are not obligated to continue treating with a doctor who authored your nexus letter, the decision to do so is yours alone to make.

For many veterans, the primary issue surrounding finding the right doctor is identifying one who will write a nexus letter in the first place. This process can be difficult given that many physicians are unwilling to assist with this task. The fact that the VA is generally of little help throughout this process only makes things more challenging.

Elite Medical Review Associates are here to help. We have extensive connections to medical doctors with experience writing nexus letters on behalf of veterans who need them. Contact us today to learn more.

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