In the first comprehensive review of the government’s programs for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, a panel of experts recommended last week that the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs expand access to services, particularly for people in rural areas, in the National Guard or Reserves, or in combat zones.
The report, by the Institute of Medicine, also concluded that the two departments need to improve their assessment of how well their many treatment programs work, as well as find better ways of coordinating care that can begin overseas and then continue on bases or in small towns across the country.
The nearly 400-page report represents the first half of a multi-year review of the broad range of P.T.S.D. screening and care services provided by the two departments. A second report, to be released in 2014, will assess emerging treatments.
The Pentagon is financing the study by the institute, part of the National Academy of Sciences. The 14 panel members included leading academicians in the fields of psychiatry, social work, family medicine and public health.