Thursday, February 23, 2012

Army investigates preferential PTSD treatment

Army investigates preferential PTSD treatment
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 22, 2012

The Army is investigating its behavioral health facilities in Europe, including those at the renowned Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, to determine whether some soldiers receive preferential treatment after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The office of Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho is reviewing whether personnel with PTSD who are able to return to duty had better access to care and were offered a wider array of treatments than those with PTSD who are likely headed for medical discharge.

The review comes on the heels of an Army investigation at Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state to determine whether a team of physicians — known as forensic psychiatrists — improperly overturned PTSD diagnoses after examining case files of least 14 soldiers.

The review at Landstuhl and 16 facilities in Belgium, Germany and Italy began after “concerns were expressed about a perceived difference in treatment options” at Landstuhl, said Army Medical Command spokeswoman Maria Tolleson.

Army officials said late last year that the service faces a readiness crisis as it deals with an impending drawdown. Of its more than 600,000 active and mobilized forces, nearly 15 percent are considered non-deployable.

In November, 47,000 soldiers were unfit for duty because of wounds, injuries or illnesses; 23,000 were on limited duty, many for mental health concerns; and more than 18,000 were being processed for medical discharge through the integrated disability evaluation system, according to Army data.
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