DoDMERB Consultants

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by thegrippos, May 12, 2016.

  1. thegrippos

    thegrippos Member

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    Has anyone had a negative experience with them? I have recently contracted the services of Dr. Merchant (DoDMERB Consultants) two weeks ago and I have to say I am very uneasy about it. I had one initial conversation with him and then since then it has been spotty, if anything. I understand he is retired and travels a lot, but he seems to have totally blown us off. My son was disqualified due to a history of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (he has been healthy and symptom free for 8+years). We have received clean bill of health from his pediatrician and Adult Rheumatologist (including clean blood work). Dr. Merchant has ignored calls from our specialist and has not made the calls he has promised to make in order to get my son's supporting documentation to the DoDMERB for NROTC waiver consideration. He has totally ignored my emails and repeated voicemails. Has anyone else experienced anything similar when dealing with him?
     
  2. CoBoarder

    CoBoarder New Member

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    I had had a good experience with Dr. Merchant. It took us a while to understand his role and how to plug him into our journey but once we understood, all was well. He is a busy person and not someone who will answer your every email about every step of the journey of your DS. The DoDMERB process is ridiculously complex with a lot at stake and I got a lot of value out of having a partner along the way. We found that the initial "game plan" call, emails along the way a major milestones and a review of the MRI and doctor notes on what to include and what not to include in the final package was gold.
     
  3. thegrippos

    thegrippos Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I am taking a leap of faith and trying to be patient with the hopes he will come through for us!
     
  4. raceeddavid

    raceeddavid New Member

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    Ok, I'm having the same issue right now with Dr. Merchant. AROTC 4yr but got dq'd for pituitary dysfunction. I took growth hormones for a couple of years, sophomore to junior year of high school, so that I could jump start my puberty since I was a late bloomer. MRI's of my pituitary gland showed no abnormalities and I've played water polo and swim all throughout high school at the varsity level Junior and Senior year. I saw him on the internet, had a great first call, but since then he hasn't responded to one email, I haven't even paid for the service yet and if and when I do it's gonna be from my savings, not my parents. I don't want to throw $900 at someone who may talk to me 3 times throughout the entire process but it'd be really nice to have that support. Any insight???
     
  5. CoBoarder

    CoBoarder New Member

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    This forum and your own research is much better for quick responses to questions along the way. What you are paying for is a Dr. to review your medical records and help you package your official waiver request to DoDMERB. The medical process is a long one and 99% is on you to follow all the steps. Again, we found value in this service for what no one else can do, review Dr. notes, MRI, meds etc. and put together a package to DoDMERB that gives you best chance of them approving your waiver request, that's it.
     
  6. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    DoDMERB qualifies or disqualifies. They do not request waivers. Waivers are requested by the SAs. Once the SA requests a waiver, then DoDMERB can send any supporting documentation submitted by the candidate that would support a waiver, but they can not request nor approve a waiver. My guess is that Dr Merchant guides the candidate to get the documentation that would support a waiver.
     
  7. CoBoarder

    CoBoarder New Member

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    That's correct but beyond the collection, his professional review of the documents and advice on the timing of the waiver submission had tremendous value to us.
     
  8. time2

    time2 Member

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    The DODMERB process is free. Never previously heard of anyone paying a 'consultant' $900 to help them along in this process.
     
  9. Keystone_Dad

    Keystone_Dad Member

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    We found this service to be solid gold. However we engaged the consultant process before submitting anything to DODMERB. We did this because we had been through the DODMERB process with our first child and it was long and stressful. All went well but it was clear to us that could have used some advice (this was years ago and we didn't know about this site). I went through it too eons ago before going to a SA. That was stressful too. So this time we figured it wise to have a record review first. Besides, that was the cheaper option according to the DODMERB Consultants website. Glad we did. Can't answer for situations where a child was DQ'd before using the service. Good luck!
     
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  10. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    You brought up a very good point, and also not relevant to the someone who has been already DQ'd. We did not use the service, however, the information on this site was very helpful. Understanding that there would always be a remedial for information on joint issues, in this instance a shoulder, made the process very easy for my DD. She actually wrote in her answers on the questionnaire to "please see MRI report attached", and "please see Physical Therapist's statement of treatment attached", and included those documents. When the doctor doing the exam said he couldn't take any supporting documents, she was worried, but Concorde saw her statements on her questionnaire and emailed her asking her to email them to Concorde and they sent them onto DODMERB. With joint issue history, they would of asked for those anyway, (we only sent the minimum, and waited to see if they asked for more, they did not), and that was a stress reliever not having to go through the notification, then waiting to send them, and waiting for an answer. I honestly would of had no clue at all without all the great experience that has been shared on this forum.
     
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  11. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot New Member

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    We used Dr. Merchant after DS was DQ'd. If I recall his pricing structure, there is an initial flat fee ($500?) and then an additional "success" fee ($500)?) only if waiver is received.

    We wanted our DS to know that we were doing everything within our ability to support his dream. If waiver didn't come through then we figured that we were out $500 but had demonstrated our support of his dream. If waiver came through, then it was $1000 well spent (i.e. no tuition checks).

    We followed Dr. Merchant's advice to the letter and DS ultimately got the waiver. There were times, however, when Dr. Merchant's response times were not wonderful but, in the end, his advice/counsel was worth every penny. IMHO.
     
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  12. LizzieMac

    LizzieMac Member

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    My son was also DQ'd and we used Dr. Merchant to help us as we went through the waiver process. He was very helpful about how to present my son in the best light. He also found a local doctor (an academy grad) who examined him and wrote an opinion of my son's case. He was waived fairly quickly and was able to take advantage of his 4 year NROTC scholarship. We found that Dr. Merchant was very responsive initially but we haven't needed him since. So I can't really speak to response times. Good luck!
     
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  13. AFROTC2016

    AFROTC2016 Member

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    If I ask Dr. Merchant for advice, but don't ask him to review my medical records/paperwork (which takes up a lot of his time, i bet), would I still have to pay a fee? Because $500 or higher is really not an option for me. I would just be asking him some questions back and forth, and I understand that it'd probably take a long time for him to respond since he has so many people, including clients, but I'm willing to wait.
     
  14. AJC

    AJC Member

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    I think any back and forth would constitute using his services.
    Perhaps he would be willing to have A conversation to see is a waiver is even a possibility.
    Of all the things posted about the Doctor on this forum I have never heard of him misleading anyone.
    If the Doctor thinks it is possible it seems $500 or even a $1000 is a small price considering what is at stake.
     
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  15. AFROTC2016

    AFROTC2016 Member

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    Thanks for the input.

    Is email or phone/text better? He gave the latter as an option in his signature block
     
  16. AJC

    AJC Member

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    might as well email him the question and see what he says.
     
  17. AFROTC2016

    AFROTC2016 Member

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    He said that yes, I have a chance at doing AROTC, which is hopeful. I want to take everyone's word for it and invest the $500 or whatever, but it can be a tough call. Thanks for your advice
     
  18. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Can't speak to the services of Dr. Merchant. I will say that USNA doesn't even consider a medical waiver until they decide that you are likely to receive an appointment. The decision whether to grant a waiver rests with individual SAs (can't speak to ROTC). They have limited resources and thus aren't going to spend a lot of time reviewing medical records for candidates who aren't likely to receive an appointment.

    It's also important to understand that USNA (and I presume but am not certain about other SAs) wants to admit as many candidates as possible who are fully physically qualified. The reason is that they know that some kids will become DQ along the way and there are a limited number of slots for grads who are NPQ. Thus, whether someone is granted a waiver/admitted with a waiver can easily depend on issues beyond the medical condition, such as how many other candidates who have medical issues are being admitted, how qualified the candidate is beyond the medical issues, what service selection options exist for graduates with that medical condition, etc.

    Based on what I've seen, if you do what DODMERB and the SA ask you to do in terms of records and tests, you have just as good a chance as if you pay someone $1000. The fact someone received a a waiver after using a consultant does not in any way mean the consultant led to the waiver being granted or that the candidate would not have received a waiver had they not used a consultant. The converse is also true -- the fact you didn't use a consultant and didn't receive a waiver are not necessarily related facts.

    If you have the money and it makes you feel better to hire a consultant, then go ahead and do it. But for those who don't have the money (or don't want to spend it on this), your chances are almost certainly just as good if you go through the process described by DODMERB and the SA.
     
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  19. A6E Dad

    A6E Dad Member

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    1985 - what you are saying seems to contradict what Mr Mullen publishes in his DODMERB doc. Specifically, you seem to indicate that medical status and/or the need for a waiver is a significant factor that is weighed in deciding whether to offer a Conditional Offer of Appointment. In other words, when choosing between two similar candidates from the same slate, candidate A has a better overall WPS but requires a waiver for an old injury, while candidate B has a slightly lower WPS, but is medically qualified. Are you saying that USNA will offer an Appointment to candidate B rather than offer a Conditional Offer of Appointment to candidate A? If that is the case, then what Mr. Mullen says is not true:
    1. "No applicant, say again, NO APPLICANT, will ever be denied admission from a US Service Academy because they receive a DoDMERB determination of did NOT meet DoD medical accession standards"

      From what I have been led to understand, the decision to waive or not waive is made solely on the evaluation of that candidates records, and a judgement of USNA medical on the likelyhood that the candidate will be able to pass a commissioning physical 4 years later (which may include another waiver for the same condition), and not on other factors outside of medical.

      If this is not true, then there is some very misleading info being put out by DODMERB and USNA
     
  20. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Below is my understanding of USNA's process -- however, I am not an official spokesperson. If you have questions, you should consult an official source at the SA or at ROTC, as appropriate.

    First, the DODMERB decision is different than a waiver. DODMERB only decides qualification status. That status alone, even if DQ, does not automatically DQ someone from an appointment.

    The next step is a medical waiver. Some conditions just aren't going to be waived. Never say never but the odds are minuscule. Things like candidates who have diabetes or have only one kidney. We can debate the semantics in those situations but the fact is that the DQ by DODMERB is really the DQ from being able to serve in the military, even though the waiver denial actually comes from the SA.

    Other conditions are waiverable, but there is a limit on the number of candidates who need medical waivers that USNA can admit. USNA must graduate officers who can serve in the unrestricted line -- and many conditions that require a medical waiver will preclude such service. So, at some point, the numbers do catch up with you.

    For example, there is a fixed limit on those with color blindness -- I think it's 2% of the class (could be wrong) but the actual number admitted tends to be much lower. Thus, (in a crazy hypothetical) if the top 25 candidates nationwide all happened to be colorblind, some of them would be turned down b/c of their medical condition. The same is true of other conditions that would preclude service in the unrestricted line. Most don't have set limits, but USNA must consider the entire class and ensure a sufficient number on entering can commission URL, knowing that some perfectly qualified candidates upon admission will become NPQ over their four years.

    I personally have no idea what the numbers are -- but you can look at recent graduating statistics and see the numbers who went restricted line or staff corps. It's about 5% of the class. Thus, it makes some sense to assume that no more than 5% of the class is admitted with medical conditions that preclude service in the URL.

    The timing issue is separate. There are lots of candidates who need waivers and at least some of those aren't in the running for an appointment for various reasons. It doesn't make sense to expend the resources making a waiver determination until USNA decides whether that person is going to get (or is really close to getting) an appointment. So, to be clear, candidates proceed along for some time as if there was NO medical issue. Once an appointment is looming, USNA looks to see if that person needs medical waiver and then the decision is made. I must confess I don't know exactly when in the process this occurs other than it's quite late.

    Hope this helps. As noted, it represents my understand of the process. If you have specific questions, please consult an official source.
     

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