People often ask me whether or not a certain type of medical report should or should not be used. As with almost all such questions, the answer is, “It Depends”. On what? On the content; in the manner it is written; and by whom. This latter basis is often a determinative one. For instance, should a medical report from a Chiropractor be used in an FERS Disability Retirement case?
Let me answer this question in a circuitous manner — I handled an MSPB case years ago where I had no “medical” doctors testify, but I had two chiropractors testify (I needed both of them, not because two makes better than one, but merely because they treated my client in sequence over the relevant period of time). To the great consternation of the OPM representative, we won the case.
Thus, chiropractors can provide valid medical opinions, and the MSPB has accepted the testimony of chiropractors — as well as therapists — standing alone, without the primary support of a medical doctor. However, my customary approach in the utilization of therapists and chiropractors, as well as physicians’ assistants, nurses, etc., is that they are most effective as secondary support to a primary medical narrative from a medical doctor.
This will often present an interesting conundrum in that, often, chiropractors and therapists will write the more detailed, substantive, and interesting report than the medical doctor. That is okay. To use such reports as a piggy-back upon the short, concise and straightforward medical report is often the best way to use such valuable resources.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire