Sen. Murray Proposes PTSD Fix

Senator Patty Murray introduced a new bill this week to change PTSD treatment. The bill will fundamentally alter the way the DoD and VA have whimsically treated post-traumatic stress of service members and veterans.

Her goal would accomplish the following:

  • Require VA and Dod to standardize their behavior health programs and suicide prevention
  • Increase access to care for families through VA
  • Create peer-to-peer counseling opportunities for veterans
  • Require VA to create “credible” goals and staffing plans

Her bill was drafted in response to the horrendous treatment of veterans and active duty military personnel in Madigan. There, forensic psychiatrists were altering medical records of service members diagnosed with PTSD and claiming the person had adjustment disorder, instead.

The psychiatrists guilty of the fraud decided to take on the role of IRS tax collector rather than to uphold their Hippocratic Oaths. This impacted service members by lowering their access to disability benefits and proper treatment. The stated reason for the actions at the time was to save taxpayers from supporting veterans with PTSD.

Steven Davis was one such service member impacted by the fraudulent actions. According to Senator Murray:

 “He was told – in effect – that despite serving in two war zones, despite being involved in three separate (improvised explosive) incidents, and despite his repeated deployments, he was making it all up.

“He was then sent home with a diagnosis for adjustment disorder and told that his disability rating would be lowered and that the benefits that he and his family would receive would ultimately be diminished,” Murray said.

Madigan was unique to the DoD because it was created to use psychiatrists to supposedly help it achieve a high degree of accuracy in diagnosing PTSD and other mental health conditions. However, since its inception, the Madigan psychiatrists received numerous complaints from service members of bad dealing.

Following the investigation into Madigan in 2011, the unit commander, Col. Dallas Homa was placed on administrative leave. The Army has yet to provide a permanent replacement.

Murray’s bill looks hopeful in that it will require the DoD to take real action rather than to use psychiatrists to keep the cost of war and disability compensation down, as it did in Madigan. Using peer-to-peer counseling would be a great addition to any program, especially since veterans are generally more comfortable talking with fellow veterans about their issues.
Source: The News Tribune

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