Forms, Forms, Forms and Reports

Forgive me readers but I have failed to keep you updated on recent events with the Department of Veteran Affairs.

So far it feels as if things are going well, all communication with the Department has been professional and courteous. They seem to be rather decent people to deal with – so different to what I had expected. The reports from older veterans had filled me with dread but the reality at the moment seems contrary to their experiences… but then again I am still at the early stages.

There does seem to be a thing about forms with the Department – understandable really when they are dealing with taxpayer money – but it does seem a touch excessive when doctors have to spend over an hour filling out justification forms for their professional diagnoses. For example on Monday last week I was called into my GP who said he had a form that we needed to complete. I booked an appointment and showed up at the due time – he was running half an hour late as it was the end of the day but this didn’t bother me – I don’t seem to be bothered terribly much anymore about people not being on time.

I was duly called not his room and he pulled out the form, well it was more a volume than a form… about 14 pages I think it was. All asking for justifications for his professional diagnosis. We spent an hour working through the questions – he king doctor things to me in between questions to justify to himself that he was correct in his diagnosis. All this time it’s other patients waiting to see him. Eventually we finished the form and decided he would have to do the medical certificate later in the evening or over the next few days as he could’ve keep he other patients waiting.

As I left, I apologised profusely to all in the waiting room for taking up so much time and keeping them waiting, “I’m so sorry, had to fill in forms for DVA”. The younger patients nodded while the older ones looked at me with with clear recognition of what they had had to deal with when dealing with this and other government departments in the past.

The Sunday before this I had spent three hours on messenger and SMS with my psychiatrist filling out another form relating to levels of severity of PTSD and depression, how I was affected and what the chances of recovery were. It all has slipped into a cloudy mire of fog now as it was so mind numbing but I know he was not at all happy that his professional diagnosis was under questions by bureaucrats following the steps of an internal process. He was particularly miffed where questions asked about the severity of symptoms that were either there or they weren’t. Anyhow we got the forms completed and he wrote a report to justify his previous report and sent them off.

Later in the week I received a call from the GP that the medical certificate was ready for me to collect. I picked it up and added it to the pile of other papers that made up a claim for incapacity payment – a process where acceptance of liability for the injury and and the claim will have DVA pay a percentage of your salary from the date you left full time work through to the end of the medical certificate. As I had left work 18 months previously, it was not an easy task to find details relating to salary, termination letters, letters of offer, etc. Nonetheless, with this final piece of the jigsaw I was able to dispatch this claim via email.

Yes it is important that process be followed with any use of taxpayer funds but when doctors have to qualify their diagnoses to ridiculous degrees – including writing reports to justify their previous reports – it does seem a touch silly. Now I am in a waiting mode – although I haven’t yet seen any questions or justification request regarding the ischaemic heart disease claim. I am sure that will show up soon. Then of course we have the obligatory government department shutdown over the Christmas/New Year period… well as we used to at in the old days… “Hurry up and wait”

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