May 16, 2008

VA Facility Tried To Avoid PTSD Diagnosis

This was primarily about VA benefits, but the effects would certainly spill over to Social Security disability benefits. From the Washington Post:

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." ...

Veterans Affairs Secretary James B. Peake said in a statement that Perez's e-mail was "inappropriate" and does not reflect VA policy. It has been "repudiated at the highest level of our health care organization," he said.

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