A Physician Assistant Looks Back on Over a Decade of Providing Disability Examinations for Veterans

Raul Rios MPAS, PA-C, ATC has never served in the military himself, but that didn’t stop him from readily accepting the opportunity to give back to the Veteran community when it presented itself. Rios attended Boise State University and then went on to complete physician assistant (PA) studies at the University of Utah. His 14-year career as a PA has given him a wide breadth of experience, including in orthopedic surgery and urgent care. Just a few years following completion of his PA studies, a physician colleague suggested that Rios might enjoy adding work as a medical disability examiner to his broad range of experience.

“I was interested in joining a network of clinicians that would give me the opportunity to be able to help Veterans,” says Rios. “I saw it as an opportunity to give back within the field of knowledge and experience to provide a service to those who served us. Once I went through the training I never looked back and have been an examiner for more than 11 years. It is rewarding, purposeful, and flexible.”

Meeting and Learning from Veterans
Rios has also found his direct interaction with Veterans to be a rewarding part of the general medicine disability examination experience. He has enjoyed being able to meet those who have served in the military, learning more about the challenges they have faced, and ways in which he can advocate for them.

“Providing disability examinations can be challenging and at times demanding, but I get to meet great people,” he says. “Veterans and their families usually have amazing stories, knowledge, and insight. It has been very rewarding to serve them.”

Growing His PA Practice – and Income – with Flexibility
In his decade+ serving Veterans through his PA practice, Rios has experienced many benefits from financial to professional and personal. He enjoys the flexibility of scheduling disability examinations into the slots within his schedule that work for him, as well as the additional income that VES provides.

“The flexibility in scheduling disability examinations as an adjunct to my clinical practice makes it seamless. The examinations add to my practice without disrupting it,” he says. “The compensation is fair and has allowed me to increase my income, to help with student loans, or simply as supplemental income.”

The flexibility of VES has also allowed Rios the opportunity to sustain his practice and bottom line during a time of professional transition.

“I am currently transitioning from one full-time practice to another, and providing disability examinations has allowed me the opportunity to pick up more case load during this time,” says Rios. “This allows me to keep my practice going during the time between credentialing to keep income coming in for my family.”

Enjoying Travel for Purposeful Work
Working in both Utah and Idaho over the course of his PA career, Rios also loves to travel to other areas of the U.S. and enjoys the freedom to do so as part of his rewarding work with VES.

“Being a traveling clinician has been great! I am able to fill my schedule or help in other areas of the country where needed,” he says. “When traveling and I have an extra day or two, I can often pick up some Veteran examination cases and help while I am there. It allows me the opportunity to expand my geographic areas of practice.”

Become Part of the VES Provider Network
To learn more about the benefits of becoming part of the VES network, visit: www.ves.com/providers.