Any claimant who has been on OWCP for any length of time, will sooner or later be sent to an OWCP scheduled examination. You must attend any examination OWCP schedules or your benefits will be suspended until you do.
On the day you receive the notice of the scheduled exam, you should write your CE and request the following items:
1. Your Statement of Accepted Facts, (SOAF);
2. The list of questions the CE is sending to the physician; and
3. The physician's Curriculum Vitae
You should also include a paragraph requesting a copy of the physician's report once it is received by OWCP.
Why are these things important?
Your SOAF is just that, a statement of the facts OWCP has accepted in your case. Whenever OWCP sends you to an exam or sends your file to the District Medical Advisor, (DMA) your CE must complete an SOAF for the doctor. The doctor in turn must rely on the information contained in your SOAF. If your SOAF is inaccurate or incomplete, you have the basis of an appeal, should it come to that. See the FECA Manual part 2 at 2-0809 for information regarding SOAF's and their requirements. You can find the FECA Manuals on the "LINKS" page.
The list of questions to the physician is to answer certain questions OWCP has in your case. However, the questions to the physician cannot be leading questions. In other words, the questions can't be phrased in such a way as to lead the physician to the answer. See the "Useful Stuff" page for some ECAB decisions regarding leading questions.
The Curriculum Vitae is a physician's resume. This can be helpful for information about the physician.
The next thing you should do when you receive your scheduled exam notice is to research the physician you're being sent to see. Often OWCP uses the same physician's over and over again. The physician's are paid better by OWCP than through the private sector and many physician's take advantage of this, especially older physician's. Also, a lot of OWCP's physicians also work as State work comp and Social Security examiners as well.
OWCP cannot send you to a physician who has the appearence of bias toward claimants. Check the "LINKS" page for ECAB decisions by topic and search the site for the physician. Read the decisions and see how the physician writes his/her reports. Do they consistently find in favor of OWCP and against claimants?
Do a basic Google search on the physician, what comes up? Does the physician have a current license for your State? The more skeletons in the physician's closet, the better.
Now let's say that you do find skeletons in the physician's closet, what should you do? The first question you have to ask yourself, is what did you find? If you found that the physician OWCP selected for you is regularly involved in law suits, Social Security claims or State work comp claims, you must find information that pertains to OWCP as well. Although the OWCP and/or the ECAB has to consider outside information, they do not have to agree with it. The ECAB decision web site is the best place to tie the physician to the OWCP.
OWCP also cannot send you to the same doctor or a doctor you've already seen for your injuries.
If, after researching the physician, you think the doctor may appear to be biased against you, you must alert OWCP PRIOR to your appointment. But let's say that your SOAF is also inaccurate, my personal opinion is NOT to alert OWCP to this fact. Wait for the physician's report, if it goes against you, then use the inaccurate SOAF. If the report is in your favor, you say nothing to OWCP about the SOAF. This way, next time you're sent to an OWCP scheduled exam, even if they update your SOAF, they probably won't correct it and you have the inaccurate SOAF in your bag of weapons for later.
I highly recommend every claimant take a tape recorder to any OWCP scheduled event (except on Federal property). The physician may protest, but stand your ground. Then you have a recording of exactly what was said during your appointment and if the facts come out different later, you have proof.
Most of what claimant's have to do involves preparing for future battles and/or appeals. These things are much easier if you gather your weapons as you go rather than trying to fight after the fact.
One last thing about OWCP scheduled medical exams. You are allowed to file a complaint of your own with OWCP and you can also file a complaint with your State's medical board if need be. The information you find during your research, how you're treated by the physician and your report would determine your decision on whether or not to file complaints.