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Board-Certified Physiatrist


A Board-Certified Physiatrist is a medical professional who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). They possess the necessary qualifications and have successfully passed a specific exam conducted by a recognized medical board. These physiatrists focus on diagnosing, treating, and preventing disabilities or injuries that result in physical impairment or loss of function.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Board-Certified Physiatrist is a medical professional specialized in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and has successfully completed the necessary examinations to be certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPM&R) or an equivalent certifying body.
  2. Physiatrists, in the context of VA benefits, are essential in the assessment, coordination, and management of rehabilitation care for veterans, helping them regain mobility and function after injury, surgery, or chronic illnesses.
  3. Veterans receiving care from a Board-Certified Physiatrist through the VA system can expect comprehensive, multidisciplinary care focusing on the whole person and not just the symptoms, with the ultimate goal being an improved quality of life and increased independence for the veteran.


The term “Board-Certified Physiatrist” is important in the context of VA benefits because it signifies a high level of expertise and professional qualification of a medical professional specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). As veterans may experience a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges resulting from their military service, receiving care from a board-certified physiatrist ensures they gain comprehensive support and assistance in their recovery, pain management, and functional improvement.

The rigorous certification process that board-certified physiatrists have to complete guarantees that they possess the necessary knowledge and skills to handle the diverse needs of veterans effectively and provide them with the best possible care and treatment.

This ultimately plays a significant role in enhancing the quality of healthcare available to veterans through VA benefits.


A Board-Certified Physiatrist plays a vital role in the recovery and rehabilitation of veterans receiving VA benefits. This medical professional specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of various neurological, musculoskeletal, and other disabling conditions that veterans may experience.

The purpose of a board-certified physiatrist is to improve the overall quality of life for veterans by developing individualized treatment plans that address their specific needs, optimizing their ability to function and reintegrate into society. Working in a multidisciplinary team in collaboration with various healthcare professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists, a Board-Certified Physiatrist offers a comprehensive approach to care that goes beyond the physical aspects of recovery.

By taking into account the emotional, psychological, and social factors affecting a veteran’s health, a physiatrist ensures that each patient has access to the resources and support required to achieve the best possible outcome in their rehabilitation journey. Ultimately, the inclusion of a Board-Certified Physiatrist in the VA benefits system is a testament to the commitment of providing the highest quality of care to those who have served their country.

Examples of Board-Certified Physiatrist

A board-certified physiatrist is a medical professional who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), and has met all the requirements needed for board certification by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR). Here are three real-world examples of situations where a board-certified physiatrist may provide VA benefits.

Post-Stroke Rehabilitation: A veteran who has experienced a stroke may require rehabilitation services to regain physical, cognitive, and communication abilities. A board-certified physiatrist can provide a comprehensive rehabilitation plan that may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy. The VA may cover these services for eligible veterans as part of their VA benefits package.

Management of Chronic Pain: A veteran who suffers from chronic pain, which may result from an injury sustained during military service or a co-existing medical condition, might benefit from the expertise of a board-certified physiatrist. These specialists can help develop a pain management plan by using non-surgical therapies, such as outpatient rehabilitation, acupuncture, and injections, to improve the overall quality of life for the veteran. The VA benefits may cover these services for qualified veterans.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Therapy: Veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury during their service may require the specialized care of a board-certified physiatrist. These professionals can create individualized treatment plans that focus on cognitive, physical, and emotional issues associated with TBI. Therapy services might include occupational therapy, physical therapy, and neuropsychology services, which can be covered under VA benefits for eligible veterans.It is essential for veterans to check with their local VA medical center or regional office for specific benefit eligibility and coverage information.

FAQ: Board-Certified Physiatrist VA Benefits

1. What is a board-certified physiatrist?

A board-certified physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation and has passed rigorous examinations to earn board certification in this field. They focus on diagnosing, treating, and managing complex medical conditions and physical disabilities using a comprehensive approach.

2. How can a board-certified physiatrist help veterans?

Board-certified physiatrists have extensive knowledge and experience managing conditions common in veterans, such as musculoskeletal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and neurological disorders. They use non-surgical treatments like physical therapy, medications, and assistive devices to improve function and quality of life in veterans suffering from these conditions.

3. Are board-certified physiatrist services covered under VA benefits?

Yes, board-certified physiatrist services are covered under VA benefits. To access these services, veterans can consult with their primary VA healthcare provider, who can refer them to a physiatrist within the VA healthcare system. Alternatively, veterans may be eligible for community care programs, allowing them to receive treatment from a non-VA board-certified physiatrist.

4. What should I expect during a typical physiatrist appointment?

During a physiatrist appointment, the doctor will start by reviewing your medical history and discussing your symptoms or limitations. They will perform a physical examination and may order diagnostic tests, such as imaging or electromyography (EMG). Based on their findings, they will develop a customized treatment plan targeting your specific needs, which may include physical therapy, medications, injections, or other treatment modalities.

5. How can I find a board-certified physiatrist within the VA healthcare system?

You can find a board-certified physiatrist within the VA healthcare system by speaking with your primary VA healthcare provider, who can help refer you to an appropriate specialist. Alternatively, you can use the VA Facility Locator tool online to find VA facilities that offer physiatry services or contact your local VA facility for a list of available providers.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Spinal Cord Injury Management

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