Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Army in Midst of PTSD Diagnosis Controversy

The U.S. Army is investigating whether psychiatrists at Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state reversed diagnoses of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that soldiers had received in a push to rein in the substantial costs associated with treating and paying benefits for soldiers with the illness, the Associated Press reported last week. A PTSD diagnosis can lead to a 50 percent disability rating for a soldier and can affect pension, family health, and financial benefits. The investigation has led to removal of the medical center's director, Col. Dallas Homas, who previously served as a command surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan. Homas, who has denied that PTSD diagnoses were reversed, said in response to his removal, "I remain optimistic that the truth will come out with these investigations. I don't feel that I or my team have done anything wrong." The investigation arose last year, the AP reported, when soldiers complained to an Army ombudsman that forensic psychiatrists at the medical center had reversed PTSD diagnoses and labeled some of the affected soldiers as malingerers. The ombudsman's report led to 12 soldiers being rescreened for PTSD at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. If shown to be true, the allegations would be troublesome to Army brass because of their aggressive push to encourage soldiers to overcome stigma and seek mental health care.

Read about the treatment of PTSD in combat veterans in Psychiatric News here and here.

(image: Brocreative/Shutterstock.com)


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