Matthew Hill: Hi. I’m Matthew Hill here with Carol Ponton on Hill and Ponton video blog. And today we’d like to talk to you about mental health C&P exams, and specifically, doctors using what we consider tricky or tricked up tests to get veterans to be found as malingering-
Carol Ponton: As someone you can’t, that are liars. You can’t trust them.
Matthew Hill: Right.
Carol Ponton: And it’s a really troubling thing that we’re seeing. Not all of the doctors, but a number of the doctors who are doing exams for PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma. They will tell the veterans, “Now I’m going to show you … it’s a simple test. And it may go like this. I’m going to show you a set of pictures, and I want you to identify them.” And they’re cars, cats, trucks. Anybody, a two year old, could identify them. But then they say, “It’s a caveat.” Just before the veteran gets ready to answer, and he said, “But I want to let you know that people who have whatever disease you might have, whether it’s PTSD or traumatic brain injury, they’re going to say these people may have real difficulty identifying these things.”
Carol Ponton: So in other words, they’re trying to get you to lie. They’re trying to get you to say you don’t know the answer when you do. And then they will write it up as someone who cannot be believed, who is just there to get the money. Don’t let them trick you into this. I’m telling all of my veterans about this. Telling them do the best job you can. And particularly if somebody prefaces the test with something like this, realize, this is a trick. And they feel like it’s their duty or their … that they’re able to do this. I think it’s awful, but it’s being done so you need to be careful. Not by everybody, but enough of them that we’re seeing this a lot.
Matthew Hill: It’s important to recognize that these C&P doctors are not there to treat you. They’re not your doctor.
Carol Ponton: No.
Matthew Hill: In fact, if they’re anybody’s doctors, they’re the VA doctor because the VA’s paying them to determine if you deserve benefits. So when they come in there, and they’re all friendly, and they’re all kind, maybe every once in a while there is one that way, but usually you got to think, hey I’m here to talk about what’s going on with me and why it’s related to service and how severe it is. You need to stick with what you came with. Meaning, if you’re having depressive thoughts, you need to talk about that. If you can’t be around anybody, you need to talk about that. If you just get really angry all the sudden, talk about that. But if he wants to show you pictures of cars or penguins or whatever, you do that. You go along and you name those, as long as you get a chance to say, “But here are my symptoms.”
Carol Ponton: Right. And I think the saddest thing is veterans, when they go to see a C&P doctor, they feel like they have to dress up for them. Maybe bathe and shave for the first time in two weeks. This isn’t what you should do. You should give them a picture of what you’re like every day. What do your loved ones have to put up with? What do you deal with every day? You only see this person once. They need to get a true picture of what’s going on with you. So remember that when you go in.
Matthew Hill: Well thanks for listening to us today. We hope you have a great rest of your day.
Carol Ponton: Bye.