Mental Health Diagnoses, Services Scrutinized
Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta ordered the heads of every branch of the U.S. military to review diagnoses for psychiatric disorders going
back to 2001. The
review was ordered after the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC)
discovered that the Army had misdiagnosed hundreds of soldiers and had,
in many cases, accused the soldiers of faking their symptoms. The
Pentagon-wide review will be led by Erin Conaton, recently-confirmed
undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness.
SVAC Chairwoman Sen.
Patty Murray (Wash.) also
demanded that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) revamp its
scheduling system after an Inspector General report indicated that only
49 percent of veterans seeking help for mental health problems are
receiving full evaluations for care within the required 14 day period
and that, in fact, the average waiting time is 50 days. Improved access
to care for all veterans, including those who bear the invisible scars
of service, is a top FRA priority and was referenced in recent
congressional testimony before the House and Senate VA Committees.