Last month a potentially damaging email from a VA employee was released. According to the email, diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder should be limited and the diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder should be considered instead.
What the email says:
"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. Consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder, R/O PTSD. Additionally, we really don't have time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD..."
What the VA says:
According to an article released by the Associated Press on June 3, 2008, the Veterans Affair psychologist that sent the email denies it has anything to do with trying to reduce benefits to veterans. Instead, she indicates that she was reminding VA staff that adjustment disorder symptoms and treatment can be similar to PTSD. Diagnosing adjustment disorder would allow them to begin treatment on a more timely basis as diagnosig PTSD can be time consuming and delay treatment.
What the critics say:
Veterans receiving a diagnosis of PTSD may be eligible for disability payments. By diagnosing verterans with a lesser diagnosis, disability payments would be reduced. Critics state that the VA is trying to cut costs by reducing treatment and disability payments to veterans, even those that may warrant a diagnosis of PTSD.
There is currently an investigation under way by the Senate Veterans' Affair Committee and the VA Inspector to determine if there was a cost-cutting motive in requesting veterans be diagnosed with the lesser diagnosis of adjustment disorder.
What do you think?
Published On: June 04, 2008