Updated: Nov 23, 2021
For veterans who suffer from Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, it's important to know the options at your disposal, and what you can do about ongoing and chronic issues like these. Understanding gastroesophageal reflux disease and its placement in the VA disability system has to do with navigating an extensive bureaucracy and understanding how medical diagnosis applies.
What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
GERD has to do with the sphincter in the esophagus. When that opening lets food or stomach acid come back up into the lower esophagus, it can irritate the esophagus in painful ways.
Over the long-term, gastroesophageal reflux disease can have all sorts of negative effects on the body. Severe symptoms can be somewhat debilitating, and GERD does have a particular status in the framework of the VA disability lexicon. Is there an amount of subjectivity involved? Like other illnesses, GERD can be evaluated differently in different scenarios. That’s why it’s important to understand how this condition is treated in VA protocol.
GERD and VA Disability: Looking at Criteria
As with other kinds of injuries and illnesses, tying GERD to VA disability requires three fundamental components. One is a diagnosis of the condition, in this case, a finding by a doctor or other licensed health care provider that gastroesophageal reflux disease applies. That might require specific chart notes or symptom documentation according to established medical rules.
The second thing that is typically necessary is an injury event that can be tied to a person's military service.
The third element here is what's called a “nexus.” Patients with the diagnosis will need to show a nexus to make gastroesophageal reflux disease or some other illness apply to VA disability standards. This can often be done by the treating provider simply placing their opinion in the medical notes. The Comprehension and Pension examiner may also discuss the nexus during an exam. Another option is to hire a medical expert to review the files and write up a technical report on your behalf if applicable. Drawing a line requires the ability of medical staff to detail a patient’s condition and history the right way.
Along with all of the above, there are also established frameworks for evaluation that have to do with comparisons. For example, GERD is, for the purposes of the VA rulebook, analogous to hiatal hernia. Analogous ratings help to put a certain condition in context.
Prestige Worldwide Medical Consulting helps with independent medical opinions that may assist in these situations. Contact us with any questions – we are happy to help.