How often do you see your doctor when you go to your doctor’s office? Who is actually providing your care? For many people, the answer is a qualified nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. For some appointments that might be fine, but it is unacceptable for you not to see your doctor regularly.
Consider the Case of My Client
I recently worked on a case and my client had been seeing a certain doctor for years. Usually that helps a case because the longer you have seen a particular doctor, the more weight a judge is supposed to give that doctor’s opinion. That is just common sense.
But in my client’s case I doubt it will help.
Even though she has been treated by this doctor for several years, there were no examination findings (e.g., decreased reflexes, weakness, decreased range of motion, discoloration, swelling, etc.), no x-rays, no MRIs, no CT scans, no stress tests, no EKGs, or any type of test that would demonstrate to anyone (let alone a judge) that the doctor had even thought about the patient for more than a moment. In fact, even though the patient had been to the clinic over 50 times, she had only been examined by the doctor once. All of the other examinations were conducted by a physician assistant. After each brief examination, the client’s pain medications were simply refilled.
In over 200 pages of medical notes, there was nothing indicating any specific limitations or a disabling condition. That is not enough to persuade most judges you are actually disabled.
Make Sure a Doctor Is Involved in Your Case
A nurse (RN), nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant (PA) can provide excellent medical evaluation and treatment. But the best medical treatment (and the type most likely to strengthen your disability case) is when the RN, NP, or PA is working closely with your doctor and the doctor remains involved in your care.
If your doctor never examines you, never refers you somewhere for a specialist’s or second opinion, never bothers to obtain an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan, you need to discuss your concern directly with your doctor. Important insight into issues like this is invaluable when applying for your Social Security disability benefits.
Our board certified attorneys have years of experience in working with people with disabilities and therefore can give valuable advice regarding making your disability claim as strong as possible. Please call us today to learn more.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.