Schoomaker: Military Personnel Left Confused by Different Evaluation Systems at VA, DoD

by U.S. Medicine

May 20, 2011

WASHINGTON—Despite significant efforts by DoD and VA to revamp the disability evaluation process, the new system remains “complex and adversarial,” the top Army doctor told a congressional subcommittee.

DoD and VA agreed on a new disability and evaluation system to integrate their processes and speed up the delivery of benefits to military personnel after their discharge from service.

The system, called the integrated disability evaluation system (IDES), was introduced in November 2007 and is now being piloted at a number of military treatment facilities (MTFs) with the goal of expanding to all MTFs this year.

“The IDES has not changed the fundamental nature of the dual adjudication process,” explained Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker at a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. IDES uses a single physical disability exam following VA examination protocols and a single disability rating evaluation prepared by VA that both DoD and VA use to make their rating decisions. However, soldiers still undergo a dual adjudication process; DoD rates and determines compensation only for conditions that make the servicemember unfit for duty, while the VA rates for all service-connected conditions, Schoomaker said.

“Dual adjudication is confusing to soldiers and leads to serious misperceptions about the Army’s appreciation of the wounded, ill and injured soldiers’ complete medical and emotional situation,” Schoomaker said, pointing out that the two separate ratings leave servicemembers “confused.”

Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Charles Green, MD, told the subcommittee that he is on a task force that is examining the disability evaluation process. The task force is still in its “discovery phase,” but expects to make recommendations about the system. “I think that as the task force continues we will have some recommendations,” he said.

Mental Health

Committee members also wanted to know whether progress was being made in addressing mental health issues among troops. “Do you feel you have adequate mental health personnel?” asked Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-MD.

Schoomaker said that the “nation is facing a problem” in having enough, and as a microcosm of the nation, so does the Army.

back to May articles

Comments are closed here.

Related Articles

Genetic Mutations Affecting Response to Drugs Are Common in Veterans

VA Debates Who Should Receive Pharmacogenetic Testing SALT LAKE CITY—A massive VA study revealed that 99% of veterans have at least one genetic mutation known to affect response to specific drugs, including some commonly prescribed... View Article

Year Supply of Contraceptives Prevents More Unintended Pregnancies

Birth Control Pill Change Could Save VA $2 Million Annually PITTSBURGH—What if there was a method to prevent nearly 600 unintended pregnancies and save the VA about $2 million a year in prenatal, birth and... View Article

U.S. Medicine Recommends

More From department of defense dod

Department of Defense (DoD)

DoD acknowledges its medical adverse event reporting is ‘unreliable’

The process for tracking the DoD’s most serious adverse medical events is “fragmented, impeding the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) ability to ensure that it has received complete information,” according to a new review.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Automation Speeds Results and Increases Accuracy for Point-of-Care Testing at Walter Reed NMMC

With a long history of point of care testing at both of its predecessor organizations, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) laboratory services staff were keenly aware of the advantages of using portable testing devices to obtain rapid patient assessments.

Department of Defense (DoD)

High Rate of Pectoralis Tears Among Deployed Servicemembers Lifting Weights

Lifting weights is one way servicemembers keep in peak physical condition during deployment.

Department of Defense (DoD)

DoD Study Finds That Type 2 Diabetes Increases Breast Cancer Mortality

Having Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2) increases mortality risk in breast cancer patients, regardless of whether diabetes was diagnosed before or after breast cancer, according to a recent study.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Now Hear This: Otolaryngologist Leads Effort to Prevent Auditory Issues

Among those who are exposed to combat, it’s the weapons fire that does it. In the Navy, it’s the noise levels in engine rooms and on the decks of carriers.

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up