Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Support the Troops Postscript: VA Data Show Significant Increase in Medical Needs of Returning Veterans

From the Veterans Affairs Democratic Office:

"One in three [returning Iraqi vets] receive an initial mental health diagnosis.

"Washington, D.C. – New data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are 'strong proof' that the Administration’s budget is insufficient to meet the mental health care needs of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is the conclusion of Illinois Rep. Lane Evans, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Maine Rep. Michael Michaud, Ranking Democratic Member of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

"Evans and Michaud had requested the data, which showed that in the first three months of FY 2006, VA saw a 21% increase in the number of veterans from Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) who have sought care at the VA. The department has seen 144,424 returning veterans through the first quarter of FY 2006, 33,858 more than the Administration had estimated in its budget proposal for the entire year.

"According to information VA provided to the congressmen, nearly one in three of the veterans seen have had a VA hospitalization or outpatient visit due to an initial diagnosis of a mental health disorder. VA’s numbers are consistent with a recent Army study that found that one in three soldiers and Marines who have served in Iraq sought mental health care services.

“'VA’s data show a 30% increase in the number of OIF/OEF veterans who have an initial diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder from the end of FY 2005. I applaud the courage of these veterans who have sought help, but the Administration refuses to acknowledge fully the demand and need for mental health services,' said Rep. Michaud. 'The Administration projects it will treat approximately 18,000 OIF/OEF veterans for PTSD in the current fiscal year, but VA data show it is already treating 20,638 OIF/OEF veterans for PTSD as of the first three months.'

“'VA’s own experts on PTSD have repeatedly questioned whether VA has the resources to meet the needs of veterans of past wars and the needs of new combat veterans. The new data should serve as a wake up call; VA needs additional resources and staff to meet the mental health care needs of veterans,' said Evans."

1 comment:

Danny Haszard said...

Bravo your blog,they are risking life and limb in the defense of our country.Back in the early 1970’s i worked with a crew of Vietnam vets many who were deeply troubled with PTSD.
It’s about time the mental health concerns of military personnel and their dependents gets priority.–Daniel Haszard