Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soldiers counsel explains MEB⁄PEB process

The Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) is responsible for determining whether a Soldier meets the Army’s medical retention standards in accordance with Army Regulation 40-501. At the conclusion of the MEB, the Soldier will receive a Department of the Army Form 3947 (Medical Evaluation Board Proceedings) and Narrative Summary (NARSUM) from his or her Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO), which should detail all of the Soldier’s current medical conditions. These documents also designate whether each condition listed meets Army retentions standards.

After the case is forwarded from the MEB to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB), the PEB determines whether or not any or all of the medical conditions makes the Soldier unfit for continued military duty. If the MEB does not both identify a medical condition and find it to fail retention standards, the PEB usually will not find the condition to be unfitting, and the Soldier will not be compensated for that condition. It is important that the MEB findings accurately capture a Soldier’s medical condition.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 provides the Soldier the right to have an impartial medical provider review their MEB findings. If the Soldier disagrees with the information contained within the DA 3947 and/or NARSUM, he or she can request an Impartial Provider Review (IPR). This request must be in writing and submitted within seven calendar days from receipt of these documents from his or her PEBLO. A Soldier is not required to state whether or not he or she will request an IPR at the time their PEBLO advises him or her on the soldier’s MEB findings. IPR requests can be made anytime during the seven day election period. Further, it is important to note that requests for IPRs are not rebuttals, which involve a separate process.

Upon request, an impartial health professional will be designated. The impartial health professional will review all medical documentation pertaining to the medical board to ensure that each injury and/or illness has been properly captured on the DA Form 3947. Upon completion of the review, the impartial health professional will contact the Soldier to counsel the Soldier on the impartial health professional’s findings.

After reviewing the findings with the Soldier, the impartial health professional will submit his or her report to the Soldier’s PEBLO. The PEBLO will then provide the Soldier with a seven-day election period to obtain his or her concurrence or non-concurrence with the MEB’s findings. If the Soldier non-concurs, he or she must submit a rebuttal within that same seven-day election period. Extensions of time may be granted through the PEBLO upon request.

MEB Outreach Counsel are available to assist the Soldier when deciding whether or not to request an Impartial Medical Review or to appeal his or her MEB results.

Soldiers should request additional guidance regarding their individual cases from their servicing MEB Outreach Counsel or Soldiers Counsel Office. The Center Judge Advocate at Walter Reed Army Medical Center provides assistance to Soldiers in the MEB/PEB processes on a walk-in basis on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Soldiers may call (202) 782-4449 to schedule an appointment. The MEB Outreach Counsel are located at the Soldiers & Families Assistance Center (SFAC) in the Heaton Pavilion (Bldg 2). Soldiers may also visit the Soldiers Counsel or MEB Outreach Counsel Offices for information papers and other resources or they may pull resources from the Office of Soldiers Counsel & MEB Outreach Counsel’s Web site at https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/otjagosc.