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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Army to Expand Efforts to Educate Officers on PTSD

From the Kaiser Network Daily Health Policy Report:

Representatives from Veterans for America on Wednesday said Army commanders have agreed to expand efforts to educate officers about post-traumatic stress disorder and to review the records of some soldiers with the condition who allege that Army physicians misdiagnosed them, the AP/Salt Lake City Desert Morning News reports. Some soldiers have said that Army physicians misdiagnosed them with personality or substance use disorders, rather than PTSD, and that, as a result, the Army dishonorably discharged them without health benefits.

According to Veterans for America representative Steve Robinson, Army commanders have agreed to take "corrective action" against individuals who have acted improperly toward soldiers with mental health problems. In addition, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson has agreed to review the records of about 40 soldiers who allege that the Army discharged them improperly, Robinson said.

Based on the review, the soldiers could have their records revised and their health benefits restored, according to Robinson. He said, "I believe the Army has made a dramatic turn. ... I think we're going to see a cultural sea change, and I think we just have to continue to monitor it to make sure that it happens" (Slevin, AP/Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 5/17).

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

A few more snippets from AP:

Soldiers working with [Veterans for America] who have PTSD say that they haven't been given enough one-on-one counseling to recover and that the Army has offered to diagnose a personality disorder to give them a quicker, honorable discharge.

But personality disorders are considered a pre-existing condition, cutting them off from military health coverage and possibly making it harder to find a job. Robinson's group claims that some soldiers have been criticized for their job performance, despite getting inadequate treatment. ...

Problems range from misdiagnoses of personality disorders to soldiers who were dishonorably discharged for substance abuse without being offered treatment first, [Robinson] said.

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