What is a VA C&P Exam?
Within the VA there are two separate and distinct departments, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA). The VHA deals with providing medical care and treatment to veterans, while the VBA determines compensation and monetary benefits. A Compensation and Pension Examination, or “C&P”, is a strange hybrid of both the VHA & VBA. They are conducted by physicians within the VHA or privately contracted physicians, such as Veterans Evaluation Services, but the examinations are not used for the purpose of medical treatment. Instead, they are used by the VBA to determine the severity of a service connected condition for claim rating purposes or to determine the relationship of the disability to the veteran’s service known as a nexus opinion, similar to an IME. Upon completion, they become property of the VBA.
These exams are governed by a series of VBA developed Disability Benefits Questionnaires, or DBQ’s, for the physician to complete while conducting a C&P examination. A typical knee or lower extremity DBQ would include: ROM, medical diagnosis, limitation, functional loss, strength testing, joint stability, functional impact, impact on ability to work and may request a nexus opinion. While these are not strictly medical-legal opinions for the purpose of litigation they are not simply medical treatment records either. These are a unique construct of the VBA used for the purpose of determining the eligibility for monetary benefits in VBA claims.
As always, thank you for your kind attention to our clients. Thank you especially to those of you who take the time to fill out Medical Source Statements for your patients. We cannot overstate how important those are.