Citation Nr: 18132328
Decision Date: 09/06/18	Archive Date: 09/06/18

DOCKET NO. 16-15 109
DATE:	September 6, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to a rating in excess of 30 percent for anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorders (psychiatric disorders) is remanded.
Entitlement to a compensable rating for a nondisplaced spiral fracture of the fifth metacarpal shaft on the left hand (left hand disorder) is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty with the United States Army from March 2003 to August 2006.
1. Entitlement to a rating in excess of 30 percent for psychiatric disorders is remanded.
In an April 2016 letter from a VetCenter Counselor it was reported, in substance, that the Veteran’s psychiatric disorders have worsened since his last VA examination in December 2015.  However, the Board finds that neither the Counselor’s letter or the voluminous VA treatment records that have been added to the record since December 2015 provide enough information for the Board to rate the current severity of the Veteran’s psychiatric disorders.  Therefore, the Board finds that a remand to provide the Veteran with a new VA examination is required.  See Snuffer v. Gober, 10 Vet. App. 400, 403 (1997); see also VAOPGCPREC 11-95 (1995), 60 Fed. Reg. 43186 (1995); Green v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 121 (1991) (holding that VA’s duty to assist includes conducting a thorough and contemporaneous examination of the veteran that takes into account the records of prior examinations and treatment). 
In the April 2016 letter from the VetCenter Counselor it was also reported that the Veteran had been treated by them since December 2013.  However, these treatment records have not been associated with the claims file.  The record also shows that the Veteran receives ongoing VA treatment.  Therefore, while the appeal is in remand status these records should be obtained and associated with the claims file.  See 38 U.S.C. § 5103A(b); Ivey v. Derwinski, 2 Vet. App. 320, 323 (1992) (holding that when reference is made to pertinent medical records, VA is on notice of their existence and has a duty to assist the Veteran to attempt to obtain them). 
2. Entitlement to a compensable rating for a left-hand disorder is remanded.
In March 2018, the Veteran filed a notice of disagreement as to the February 2018 rating decision that denied a compensable rating for his left-hand disorder.  No subsequent action has been taken by the agency of original jurisdiction (AOJ).  Therefore, this issue needs to be remanded for the AOJ to issue the Veteran a statement of the case.  See Manlincon v. West, 12 Vet. App. 238 (1999).  
The matters are REMANDED for the following actions:
1. Obtain and associate with the claims file all post-December 2013 VetCenter treatment records.
2. Obtain and associate with the claims file any outstanding VA treatment records.
3. After obtaining all needed authorizations from the Veteran, associate with the claims file any other outstanding private treatment records.  
If possible, the Veteran herself should submit and new pertinent evidence the Board/VA does not have (if any).
4. As to the claim for a compensable rating for a left-hand disorder, issue the Veteran a statement of the case.  Thereafter only return this issue to the Board if the Veteran perfects his appeal by filing a timely Substantive Appeal.
5. Schedule the Veteran for a VA examination with a suitably-qualified medical professional to address the severity of his psychiatric disorders.  The claims folder should be made available to and reviewed by the examiner.  The examiner is to identify all pathology found to be present.  The examination report must include a complete rationale for all opinions expressed.
 
JOHN J. CROWLEY
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	Neil T. Werner, Counsel 

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