Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and VoteVets.org have released an e-mail obtained from a Veterans Affairs (VA) employee directing VA staff in Temple, TX to refrain from diagnosing soldiers and veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and instead making a diagnosis of “Adjustment Disorder” -- a difference which denies veterans as much as $2,500/mo in disability compensation.
Official Urged Fewer Diagnosis of PTSD
Friday, May 16, 2008; Page A02
A psychologist who helps lead the post-traumatic stress disorder program at a medical facility for veterans in Texas told staff members to refrain from diagnosing PTSD because so many veterans were seeking government disability payments for the condition.
"Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out," Norma Perez wrote in a March 20 e-mail to mental-health specialists and social workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Olin E. Teague Veterans' Center in Temple, Tex. Instead, she recommended that they "consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder."
VA staff members "really don't . . . have time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD," Perez wrote.
Adjustment disorder is a less severe reaction to stress than PTSD and has a shorter duration, usually no longer than six months, said Anthony T. Ng, a psychiatrist and member of Mental Health America, a nonprofit professional association.
Veterans diagnosed with PTSD can be eligible for disability compensation of up to $2,527 a month, depending on the severity of the condition, said Alison Aikele, a VA spokeswoman. Those found to have adjustment disorder generally are not offered such payments, though veterans can receive medical treatment for either condition
This is a disgrace and demands an immediate Congressional investigation. If you are outraged by this please contact:
Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
Click here to go to Sen. Akaka's website, send a fax to (808) 545-4683 or use the contact information below:
United States Senate
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Tel: (202) 224-6361
Fax: (202) 224-2126
and both Texas Senators:
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
Click here to go to Sen. Hutchinson's website or use the contact information below"
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4304
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) member of the Senate Budget Committee
Click here to go to Sen. Cornyn's website or use the contact information below:
517 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510