The War The VA Is Sick of Your Inconvenient Diseases
posted by May 15 at 13:35 PMon
Today, the Department of Defense announced a $2.3 million award to the University of Cincinnati to study brain trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.
But, according to an email leaked to a citizens’ advocacy group, VA bosses are discouraging social workers and psychiatrists from diagnosing PTSD in veterans because it’s inconvenient:
In the words of Melanie Sloan, the righteously outraged director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, “the VA is calling on its employees to deliberately misdiagnose returning veterans in an effort to cut costs.”
Which isn’t just outrageous—it’s outrageously dumb.
Ignoring PTSD now will only cost the VA, with interest, in the next few decades. As this WSJ story reports, PTSD is both underreported and lasting:
Many military personnel are reluctant to seek counseling for PTSD because they are afraid that seeking help would harm their careers. A recent survey by the American Psychiatric Association found that 75% of military personnel felt that asking for assistance would reduce their chances for promotion.
Undoubtedly, some people fake PTSD—but the incentives lean towards underreporting, not overreporting.
Military officers and psychologists fear that veterans of the two wars will suffer mental-health problems for decades to come, a largely hidden cost of the current conflicts.
“There’s a financial cost to this, but more importantly there’ll be a cost in lives if we don’t get a handle on this problem now,” Sen. Christopher Bond (R., Mo.) said in a recent interview.
Money for research is good. Money for treatment is imperative.