DoDMERB DQ Status for non-existent condition

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by worldcup2015, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. worldcup2015

    worldcup2015 New Member

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    I am a senior in high school, and I have applied for both the Air Force Academy and AFROTC scholarship. I received a Type 7 (which I have converted to a 3 year Type 2) scholarship that I accepted and the next step is for me to complete my DoDMERB exam. Since I applied to the USAFA, I already did my DoDMERB exam and I know that this exam can account for the AFROTC exam. However, I had received a DQ status (on the USAFA exam) for "current or history of chondromalacia." I had a knee injury a few years ago that was dubbed "chondromalacia of the patella" because that was the generic medical code given to any knee injury that wasn't a specific issue, like tearing of the ACL. I was prescribed a month of physical therapy, and ended up only going for 3 weeks because my knee had completely heeled. Since then, I have participated in 2 seasons each of varsity cross country, soccer and track without any problems from my knee. When I had a follow-up visit, my doctor changed the diagnosis to merely a "contusion of the patella" and even wrote an entire letter to DoDMERB stating that it was an incorrect diagnosis and that I have never the condition in the first place. They either ignored the letter or just would not fix my medical history or something. Maybe the academy never initiated a waiver so they did not feel the need to do anything about my status.

    But now that I have accepted the scholarship, it says on DoDMERB that my exam was reviewed for the AFROTC and I am still disqualified for the same non-existent condition. It also deleted from my timeline all of the additional paperwork I had sent in regarding my knee, so I am not sure what that means. I do not want to lose my scholarship for a medical issue that I have never had. It says on the DoDMERB website that for scholarship recipients, the waiver process is automatically initiated. Is the waiver acceptance process less strict or easier for the AFROTC than it is for USAFA? Do I have any chance of obtaining a waiver, and if so, what steps will I have to take? Is the doctor's letter enough, or will I need another physical?
     
  2. AndrewRobins

    AndrewRobins AFROTC 4 Year Type 2 Scholarship Winner

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    I have the same problem. I had a right knee subluction that no longer affects me but since it was within a 6 month tomeframe of my exam is caused a DQ. I have applied to Air Force Academy and recieved an AFROTC type 2 scholarship. I was very concerned about the DQ so I called basically everyone under the sun; DODMERB, liasion officer, admissions, etc. What each one of them told me is that the Air Force Academy will review your application and decide if you are competitive enough for a waiver review. The AFROTC will automatically start a waiver because you were awarded a scholarship. So don't worry about that. The website showing AFROTC and USAFA DQs is nothing to worry about too. I had the same on mine. However, for the timeline you may have a little bit to wait. I made those calls about a month ago and it wasn't until today that the USAFA emailed me and told me that they would start a waiver.
    PS I would get as many letters as you can about your knee. Doctors, specialists, etc. DODMERB wants to see as much as possible to convince them you are fine.
     
  3. worldcup2015

    worldcup2015 New Member

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    Well I'm glad I'm not the only one having this problem, although I'm sorry either one of us is having this issue at all. When I received the DQ I also had called or emailed everyone I knew too -- liaison officier, a representative with my congressmen, DodMERB techinician as well as the Admissions Board at the Academy. They all told me the same thing as you too. I ended up sending in follow-up paperwork, a written statement from myself advocating for my knee as well as the final letter from my doctor I already talked about to DoDMERB and the Admissions Board. This all happened within the last month or two as well. Still haven't heard anything, although at this point I doubt I will since I decided to go the ROTC route. I thought it would be helpful that the same doctor that had made the original diagnosis also conducted the follow-up and wrote the letter exonerating my knee. Would it be in my best interest to go to other doctors (my doctor was already an orthopedic specialist) or a new specialist and have that doctor write another statement about my knee? The more different doctors that all say my knee is fine would make my case more believable right?
     
  4. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    Pure speculation - if your initial doctor is retracting his original diagnosis and will (has) documented it, that would seem more powerful than one doctor saying another doctor was wrong
     
  5. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    Try to find a retired military Dr. ( preferably an orthopedists) who practices in your area and have them examine you. Bring the DoDMERB file and DQ code/description to the appt. If the results are in your favor ask that the DR. send the info to DoDMERB. I would also send the info to the admissions office and maybe your ALO ( I believe there is one or two here that can comment on the necessity of this). Good luck to you both.
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    If you choose to follow this suggestion, there are many MD-rating sites and directories out there, including WebMD. They will usually list medical school and residency hospital, if not much else, unless the doctor has subscribed to the site and populated various fields. Group practices and hospitals will often have staff bios.

    Look for residencies at
    Walter Reed Army Medical Center
    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, formerly National Naval Medical Center Bethesda
    Malcolm Grow
    Tripler AMC
    Portsmouth Naval Hospital or NNMC Portsmouth
    Balboa Naval Hospital or NNMC Balboa
    Brooke AMC

    There are many others, but you get the idea. If they did their ortho residency at a military hospital, then it's likely they did several years as a military doc.
     
  7. worldcup2015

    worldcup2015 New Member

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    Update: DoDMERB eventually requested an MRI about two months ago. I got it done last month and just recently was granted my waiver! Thanks for all your advice.
     
  8. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    That is FANTASTIC, congratulations! Thanks so much for updating all of us.
     
  9. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    Congratulations

    Let this be a lesson for all new applicants. As I read the OP, it says he was initially mis-diagnosed and the diagnosis was changed. As far as DoDMeRB is concerned, you would be able to honestly declare you have never been diagnosed with a knee injury.

    MD's make mistakes and especially in this case, the original MD was able to say his original diagnosis was incorrect (I get the coding issue). It should have never been listed on the DoDMeRB from the beginning. Sometimes, it isn't even a mistake, they need a follow-up test or it's going to take a few days for the swelling to go down to make a final determination.

    For example an MD may think you have a possible fracture, he sends you for an x-ray. The radiologists says, 'No break', don't list the original doctor's diagnosis of a broken bone.
     
  10. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    However it does ask about X-rays, or treatment for joint issues. Which would be honest yes answers, many times, I would say almost always, as a patient we don't know what the diagnosis code was. All that any applicant can do is answer the questions honestly, I agree don't self diagnose, but definitely answer honestly. For example, it asks if you have ever had an X-ray, it does not ask if you have had a positive X-ray, then in the explanation you can explain the reason and result. If they want the records they will ask.
     
  11. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    If I had a medical test and the results were negative even it included an x-ray, I would not disclose it to DoDMeRB especially if I was not a military dependent. I just wouldn't. I don't know what the form asks, but I would be surprised if it asked if you've ever been x-rayed. My recollection of the process is that it asked about diagnoses and not tests. And when you actually see the Concordia MD - the exam is at best cursory.
     
  12. jage3

    jage3 Member

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    It actually asks if someone has had X-ray therapy. Not a routine Diagnostic X-ray. Mistake that was made when filling out dd form.
     
  13. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    The question answered was most likely, "have you ever received medical treatment for a joint issue, etc. I think in this case there was also physical therapy, which is medical treatment for a joint issue. Having a joint issue that is cleared by an MRI for example as not being a tear but then requires physical therapy as treatment for the joint, is completely different than an xray ruling out a broken bone, in my opinion. Not having a broken bone requires no further treatment typically. You can have some disqualifying conditions with joints without ever having a positive xray or MRI. And DODMERB wants to see what your doctor diagnosed it as, not what the applicant THINKS the doctor diagnosed it as. In the end, the applicant needs to be comfortable with what they add, not being deceptive and being honest, while not putting in things that they do not need to. My DD had an MRI and a course of PT for a recurring shoulder issue from being a competitive swimmer. She listed it. Negative MRI, but she did need 6 weeks of physical therapy. They requested PT notes, MRI results and a personal statement about her current activity and if she had any limitations. She was qualified no problem. Here is a scenario that would of gone differently. For my daughter, the doctor's diagnosis code to order the MRI and physical therapy was "left shoulder pain", in her notes she said possible labrum tear. Had she chosen the diagnostic code "left shoulder instability" it could of been a very different outcome. As a patient, many times you don't know what diagnostic code they are using. Had that happened, she would of been DQ'd and the waiver process would of been started, she was cleared from physical therapy and has no limitations, so I am confident she would of gotten one, it would of just been frustrating. I was definitely relieved when we got the records and saw the left shoulder pain, I definitely feel for the original poster, diagnosis codes are used for billing purposes and to refer a patient, not an actual diagnosis, but can be a problem for them, as we all know, in the future. However, with a history of shoulder problems, if she had not listed, gotten hurt while in ROTC or in the Army and it was discovered it was a pre-existing condition, that is a much scarier issue for her. As would be a knee issue. Again, knees and shoulders are very different than a suspected broken bone that wasn't. Many of these conditions will get a waiver, or at least be part of the medical record going forward. Remember, the US military will eventually be the applicants employer, they want to not only make sure safety and being able to perform their duty are priorities, but also that a previous existing injury doesn't get blamed on them as a new injury. Think of it as a worker's comp issue.
     

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