Google +LinkedInPinterestYouTubeInstagramTwitterFacebook

Legion applauds DoD review of PTSD cases

Legion applauds DoD review of PTSD cases
defense.gov photo

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta revealed at a June 13 congressional hearing that he has ordered a review of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases handled by the military since 2001. The U.S. Army began such a review last month, after an investigation at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., revealed that hundreds of soldiers with PTSD were misdiagnosed or accused of faking their symptoms.

Panetta broke the news while being questioned by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. Murray heard complaints last fall from soldiers who said their PTSD diagnoses had been purposely changed to lesser maladies. She spurred the Army to launch its review and found out about Panetta’s decision after telling him, "this is not just an Army disability evaluation system. This is a joint Department of Defense and VA program (that) covers all of the services."

American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong said that Panetta’s decision will provide a much-needed expansion of the Army’s initiative. "We don’t want our servicemembers being denied care and benefits because someone in the DoD system says they have personality disorders or some other misdiagnosis, just to save some money," said Wong, referring to a May 16 story in the New York Times that mentioned an internal Army memo that came to light last February. The memo quoted a Madigan doctor who said that Army clinicians needed to be "good stewards" of taxpayer dollars, and that a servicemember could collect up to $1.5 million in disability benefits if diagnosed with PTSD.

"We stand behind Secretary Panetta’s prudent decision to go through every PTSD case in all branches of the military and reassess the decisions to make sure they were made properly – not as cost-cutting measures," Wong said. "And we also want to thank Sen. Murray for her hard work and leadership on this critical issue. Without her persistence, these reviews might never have happened."

During the hearing, Murray said the Pentagon and VA "are losing the battle on mental and behavioral health conditions that are confronting a lot of our servicemembers" and noted that, on average, military suicides have been occurring once a day in 2012.

Wong said he agreed with Murray that, five years after the health-care scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, DoD has been slow in its response. "Secretary Panetta said that part of the problem is bureaucratic, that he’s in charge of a very big bureaucracy," Wong said. "We need to find a way to cut through all of that and make it clear to DoD’s leadership that our troops who suffer from PTSD need to be helped as quickly as possible. Issue an order, replace incompetent people, eliminate some positions. Whatever it takes, DoD should do it now," he said.

In October 2010, The American Legion formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Traumatic Brain Injury/PTSD. Over the course of nearly two years, the committee heard from various experts – military, federal and civilian – in the field of mental health, as well as servicemembers. Viable alternative treatments for both TBI and PTSD were discussed, as well as improved screening, research, diagnosis and treatment for both conditions. The committee prepared a list of recommendations for DoD and VA that are being reviewed by Legion leadership.

More in Veterans Health Center

 

John La Rochelle

June 18, 2012 - 10:58pm

When that sergeant from Fort Lewis, who had previously been treated at Madigan, killed all those people in an Afghan village on his subsequent deployment, I surmised then another incompentency being camouflaged as saving money was responsible. Looks like it's all coming out now.

Gary Pierson

June 15, 2012 - 10:05am

No offense Dave,but were you a combat MOS? Ever kill any one for the god bless em war machine? `1.5 million, I don't know where you got that number at... Forest Gump? Short story, I'm the seven times great grand son of Revolutionary War Veteran, Pvt.1st. Shadrach Pierson .1st Virgina; Valley Forge,Concord,etc.. along with his triplet brothers, first triplets born and lived, in America. Pierson/Pearson Triplet Society.com.. Meshsach went on to be one of Washington's 300 some odd private guards.. I wonder what it cost us to cover the security of two Bushes and a Dick? Abindigo was killed by the family for siding with the British Wigs.. Wigs went on to become the Republican Party during the Civil War, opportunist at their best... The oldest political party in the US or history is the democratic party and no one wants to stand up and just say NO TO WAR, cause ya could get killed.. By some one like Ozzwald.. I know it's spelled Oswald. I know a man's head doesn't fly backwards when shot from behind... After the war of 1812,the government finally gave the Pierson/Pearson Brothers 400 acres of land in some river bottom in Ohio.. They were in their late 60's by the time they received what was promised.. No toes and time set in and they lost the muddy bottom land back to guess who? Cause they were too old to work it.. They never saw a million dollars or had hardly any one else whose delayed like I have, seeing the war machine, which I do not trust and no one should... Their not all good guys... War wrecks your heart and soul,forever, if you have a conscience and a clear view of what was going on and is still going on and on and on... We didn't start the fire. Just want to put it out... So,I'm a slightly disabled vet who walks with a cane and still have shrapnel in me the first shrink said it could've came from my past back ground????? Can't get a person whose paid to say No, to say Yes! Records are all messed up except they did save every Article 14 or what ever I ever got.. At least they kept that.. If I started to receive say 100% disability, at around almost 3 grand a month. I would never see a million dollars by the time I die from my souvenirs.. The government is worried more now about paying guys who woke up and found out what they were really fighting for.. Black Gold.. Texas T',... Start paying 100% to a 22 year old and he dies at 82, 60 years worth of comp does not equal 1 million dollars... The Pentagon farts that much in a second.. BIG MONEY AND POWER HONEY! As all wars are.. Nothing else. What branch of service were you in? And no, I didn't have a precondition to want to kill people.. I'm human.... Love mankind,hate people.. Now, I can kill,without guilt thanks to my government. I'm normal! Just saying Dave.. From a Son of the American Revolution and Vietnam War.. Give me an F! Give me a U!... etc.... grp ^i^

Dave Smith

June 15, 2012 - 12:21am

Let's not be too critical of the Madigan medical people who felt they should be "good stewards" of taxpayer dollars. $1.5 million is a lot of taxpayer money for just one lifetime disability diagnosis. Sometimes even disabled vets should have to take a few benefit cuts.... just like in the private sector....

Gary Pierson

June 14, 2012 - 11:56pm

I finally ended up at the VA because of Viral meningitis.. No insurance, no one would take be because of my service... Only choice was the VA and it was like going back to the people who sent you to die... Then I got chewed out by my psychologist for not coming in 40 years ago.. I said, " You were working here 40 years ago?" " Do you know how this place was until Haraldo Rivera did a investigative report? Rats and No one cared and you got different doc every time and it was start all over gain every time you went in, Then they just wanted to get rid of ya, tell ya to go smoke a joint and here's a band aid... So I see this Shrink named Dr. Richard Heckman.. Doesn't say a thing and slide two pieces of paper to me with Bible quotes on em.. I was instantly pissed.. I asked, where am I, a psychologist office or Pastors church? 1998... After I threatened him, he let me lose and I got a shrink without a hidden agenda or a Christ complex... Now, I have a therapist who specializes in Deep Trauma Therapy... Blocked it out so long,now it just hurts more when I dig it up... And all they want to do is give ya more pills... I know jokers who filled and got claims and money over a cut finger... Then you guys have like me.. Still feeling guilty for killing simple people who were just caught between power and money hungry blood lust f--ks.............. I haven't asked for any comp... Even though I have Chronic PTSD... I think they need to revive all claims.. I see too many in new cars and walk just fine.. One guy in that 145 Day War, played the system and looked real bad until he got 100% and viola! A miracle, just like this Staff Sargent in the Air Force.. Has 375 acres of land and married into money and played the game and got buddy letters they all sent for each other and like I said before, then you have guys like me whose buddies are all dead.. Been in combat.. He never was.. And they gave him 100%.. The system is built to not work right. So they can kill it... Can't now, too many suicides and they may make the head line news some day.. Now I kind of would like to get comp... And I doubt it would happen.. Even though I do have Chronic PTSD... Cpl. Pierson 101st Airborne Grunt and gunner on 105's........ I've killed better people than some of our politicians and now I'm probably will get hell for saying that fact.. Yes Sir, No Sir! I was drafted and did what we all do when called, expect for a few in the Moral ass Good Old Parasites party............... Don't mean nothing!

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Tell us what you think