Dodmerb consultants? Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Wonderfulmom, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Wonderfulmom

    Wonderfulmom Member

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    Has anyone used the Dodmerb consultants? I contacted them and they contacted me back and offered to call and discuss our situation. However, I am still waiting to find out if there is a cost and how much? I am also wondering if it will be worth it.
     
  2. Sydney C.

    Sydney C. 5-Year Member

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    There definitely is a cost if you engage them to be sure. If memory serves me, the gentleman that owns it was at one time either head of or senior exec with Dobmerb. In any event, and while I'm unqualified to answer whether or not it's worth it, if the initial conversation is free, what have you got to lose to find out.
     
  3. Motorguy

    Motorguy Member

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    I sent you a private conversation to answer this question.
     
  4. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    I would consider how unique your candidate's medical situation is. Though the initial conversation is free, my impression is that most of the DoDMERB follow-on activities are not complicated or unique and thus paying a consultant is not the most value add for the $.

    And in the end, most of the answers (not all) are relatively black/white.
     
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  5. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Be sure you've tried the (free) medical liaison at USNA first. That person may be able to answer some of your questions. The decision to grant a waiver always rests with the SA. Some conditions have a very, very low chance of waiver no matter how much money you pay a consultant. In other cases, they may be able to help in some way.

    As with any consultant doing anything, I suggest you ascertain what they can/can't do and how much it will cost. Then consider whether it's worth the money, based on your financial circumstances.
     
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  6. mmb5

    mmb5 5-Year Member

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    You might also start with the DODMERB folks themselves. Larry Mullen has his own fan club here, and my experience has been that his colleagues are equally as helpful.
     
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  7. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    I think USNA1985 is right; use the available free resources to the extent possible, and if you determine that engaging a consultant can provide a benefit not otherwise available or increases chances of waiver and appointment, it may be money worth spending. It might also help parents feel that they have done everything they can. The cynical side of me thinks that using him may also have a potential negative impact -- DODMERB has its own "customer service" hotline, where people can get info, and everyone is on a level playing field. I don't know who makes the decisions at DODMERB, whether its one person or a committee , but suspect there is some potential that the decision maker might take offense at candidate hiring someone to game the system, or even unconsciously going out of their way to be tougher when evaluating DC's client's to avoid the appearance of favoritism. Finally, I don't know how long this guy has been in business, but need to keep in mind that there is a shelf life on the knowledge he had when he was part of DODMERB. Policies and practices change over time, and he could hurt the Candidate more than he could help.
     
  8. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

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    Larry Mullen was fantastic when my Daughter went through the process. The Director was also great. He called us about three times after we submitted all the new paperwork and his one quote to us was "We are not here to keep these kids out of an Academy, We are here to get them in". The Director told us that there was a committee of Doctors who review the medical records. Save the money and contact DoDMERB first.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
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  9. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Just remember, DODMERB qualifies or disqualifies; USNA decides whether to grant a waiver for those who are DQ'ed. Thus, DODMERB can be helpful regarding DQs. Once you are DQ'ed, then USNA (or other accession source) is the decision maker. There are lots of things that go into waiver decisions -- not the least of which is how many people with certain medical issues (and total overall who can't be commissioned in the Unrestricted Line) can be admitted in each class. That's something no consultant (or candidate) can control.
     
  10. CoBoarder

    CoBoarder Member

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    I used the DODMERB consultants and found the advice and guidance invaluable. DS had a shoulder subluxation and they helped me with the timing of the PT to get stronger, taking the physical fitness exam to keep the application in good order, then surgery, waiver request, recovery and finally the waiver. There was no way I could navigate those steps without one on one guidance with someone who had my best interest. Navigation and the exact text my DS doctor should put in the record to give the waiver request the best chance was worth it's weight in gold.
     
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  11. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    And I am sure if you read the fine-print on the agreement form the consultant provides, it will clearly indicate no guarantee of success. I would be curious to know what current DODMERB employes think of a former employe trying to gain financially from their prior knowledge of the process, when in fact working with DODMERB is free of charge.
     
  12. Wonderfulmom

    Wonderfulmom Member

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    Lots of great advice here. Also a lot to think about....thank-you.
     
  13. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    +1 -- I have seen alot of consulting agreements over the years, and very rare for a consultant to stick their neck out too far. My initial reaction when I heard of DODMERB Consultants was that this was just another former governement employee trying to make money off his past position. I looked into them a little, and saw that the principal is a Citadel grad/ Former Navy Doc, so I expect that he is an honorable person and is not preying on parental insecurities. I suspect there are some cases where he can make a difference , and if he is honest and upfront about with his clients, I dont have any problem with it.
     
  14. jebdad

    jebdad 5-Year Member

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    Here is my N=1 sample size for this topic but I placed a phone call for assistance a year or so ago and found them to be fantastic. Answered my question, pointed me in the right direction and I ran with it and they charged me nothing. I did not get the impression that anyone is looking to take advantage of any situation. Their advice to me was very valuable and was definitely instrumental in clearing up a DODMERB DQ.

    My opinion is that they have some insight and expertise that can help. Probably not necessary for all situations as there is a lot of information on this site for reference and, in addition, I have found DODMERB help line to be very easy to deal with.

    I fully expected to pay "something" for their advice and if I had engaged them beyond the initial consultation, it was agreed I would have. They would not take any fee for the initial conversation we had. Not sure if that is always the case, but I felt I was dealing with a honest and forthright consultant.
     
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  15. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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    Sounds a lot like all the lobbyists who used to work on Capitol Hill . . . more $$ in the private sector just helping others navigate the gov't bureaucracy . . .
     
  16. NotCollegeMom

    NotCollegeMom New Member

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    We used DODMERB Consultants when my DD was DQ. DD's issue was not a standard one. To me they were worth every penny just because they took the pressure off of me to figure out how to best reply to requests for additional information and because they could provide information. For example we learned that every entity makes their own decision. USNA may give a waiver but NROTC may not. Was this information we could have received directly from DODMERB? Probably but it was nice to hand this part of the process over to someone else particularly when it was to someone who is a physician and who knows the system.

    I wish I would have used them before I ever submitted the first response to any DODMERB questions because in hindsight my inadvertent but incorrect responses caused more problems than they should. DODMERB Consultants will review your medical information and all forms prior to submission. This obviously isn't to hide anything but to look for the red flags and begin working towards addressing them. The price is a lump sum and the same whether you work with them from the beginning or after DQ.
     
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  17. Zoomie90

    Zoomie90 Member

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    We used DODMERB Consultants a few month ago, and I was very pleased with the assistance Capt Merchant provided. The way I viewed the expense was that my DD had worked extremely hard to earn an LOA to WP and I was going to work equally hard to ensure her medical records were presented properly. Capt Merchant reviewed her records and was able to find an appropriate physician in our area that was familiar with military physical requirement and discussed the situation with him. (Turns out the doctor was a WP grad and classmates with the Superintendent, not that that influenced anything other than made for interesting conversation). Could we have done this on our own--Yes, and would the result been the same--probably. However, I was not going to run the chance of having a Medical DQ for a few hundred dollars given the importance of the information. He was also very responsive and timely in replying to our requests. So, do I regret the money spent, I've never even thought about it and am grateful for the assistance provided and would suggest others use his service if financially feasible. I also agree with NotCollegeMom in that I wish we had used him at the start of the process rather than just when questions came up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
  18. partyof5

    partyof5 New Member

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    We used DodMERB Consultants over a year ago, and I highly recommend Dr. Merchant. Back to an earlier post, I can assure you Dr. Merchant is not getting rich off of this service; his fees are very reasonable and don't come anywhere close to compensating him for his time. In my case, I became concerned after DD submitted the DoDMERB forms that we had raised a red flag with an asthma diagnosis from childhood. I contacted Dr. Merchant who was able to help us get ahead of the DQ's that were coming. This is a stressful time. My DD had an LOA in hand in September; I was not going to risk a medical DQ killing her dreams if there was any way to prevent it. As a civilian with absolutely no military or medical knowledge, I felt out of my league. Dr. Merchant helped me anticipate what was coming next and figure out what our next steps were.

    If you have experience in the military, a medical background, or if your medical history is 100% clean, then you probably do not need his services. If you have any concerns regarding medical history or something turns up during the DoDMERB process, contact him for a consultation.

    He is a busy man, and at times there are delays in communication, but he saw us through the process giving excellent advice along the way. My DD received waivers to all 3 academies she applied to. Would she have received them without his services? Maybe. But it was worth the peace of mind to me knowing I had done all I could to help DD.
     
  19. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    That's what Admirals and Generals do after they retired, but I digress.
     
  20. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I have no idea if they are good or bad but the idea that a free government service is going to be as good a paid consultant who used to run the agency seems silly to me. When I became a US citizen in 1982, I used an attorney who used to work with Immigration and Naturalization services to do my paperwork. Now it was 1982, but the turnout around was insanely fast. Not sure I would have gotten the same attention or ease if i had done it myself or used just any attorney. No one can guarantee anything but it can really help especially when you are dealing with any government agency. As for what his employees think of him trying to gain financially from his prior job, they are probably impressed assuming he hasnt done anything illegal