The document below outlines 17 schemes the Department of Veterans Affairs declared should be avoided when scheduling patients. That was four years before the current eruption over use of these schemes to delay treating sick (and some, dying) veterans in an effort remain off of the VA’s “Bad Boy List.”
A new survey from a veterans group found 30% of those veterans surveyed have considered suicide; 45% know an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide and 63% have veteran friends “who they feel need care for a mental health injury.”
The 4,104 veterans who responded to the annual Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association membership survey said suicide, in fact, was the most important issue they face. Some 37% know a veteran who has committed suicide and of those who know someone, 60% know more than one. (See the full report embedded below).
“The 2013 survey highlights some alarming downward trends in veteran care,” an IAVA release on the study said.
The Veterans Administration estimates about 22 veterans kill themselves each day. Of those, about 2 in 3 are older than 50. Only 12% of those who responded to the survey were 50 or older, which is not surprising given the recency of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A few other findings.
40% of respondents have a claim pending with the VA. Of those, 45% have been waiting longer than a year. The VA is trying to tackle an enormous backlog of disability claims but does not expect appreciable improvement until 2015.
31% said they had served with an openly gay service member; just over half support extending Department of Defense benefits to same-sex partners.
Congress and the President get poor grades for listening to veteran’s issues and the VA itself gets mixed grades.
The IAVA calculates the umemplyment rate among those who responded at 16%. Nearly half have haven’t worked for a year or more; a quarter are unable to find any work.
Among women, nearly two-thirds had a neutral or negative opinion about health care and treatment from the VA.
The survey was conducted from Feb. 2 to Feb. 17. It included responses from 4,104 Iraq and Afghanistan veteran. Of those, 3,274 are confirmed veterans who submitted proof of wartime service. The findings are not believed to reflect the veteran population as a whole. Sixty percent served in Iraq; 16% in Afghanistan and 23% in both.
Some 22% of women in the U.S. military said they have been victims of unwanted sexual contact by someone in the service, and the issues seems to be most significant in the Marine Corps, where 30% — nearly 1 in 3 — women reported unwanted advances. Among men, by comparison, 3.3% said they were victims.
The data is from a final version of a major global, anonymous survey of military personnel done every three years by the Department of Defense, TRICARE and others. About 40,000 participated in the survey, which was done in 2011 but was not made public until a few days ago.
The survey is exhaustive and covers many issues, including substance abuse, stress and mental health, including post-traumatic stress, depression, gender issues, suicide and traumatic brain injury.
(HiddenSurge.org) More than 665,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists have fought alongside active-duty service members in the decade-long Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But they face a far different homecoming.
They are as vulnerable as their active-duty counterparts to what military leaders call the signature wounds of the post-9/11 conflicts – traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, those in the Reserve component—National Guardsmen and Reservists—do not have access to the same extensive health care system and support network needed to assess their injuries and help them recover.
Instead of coming home to a military base, they return to their hometowns, where they navigate fragmented health care networks and scattered service agencies without the psychological support of being near “battle buddies.” Full Story
A three-month investigation by a team of Medill student reporters has found significant gaps between the health care and support for the 665,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and their active-duty counterparts.
The project, called Hidden Surge, found that many have been hastily channeled through a post-deployment process that has been plagued with difficulties, including reliance on self-reporting to identify health problems. These service members face unique challenges and report higher rates of some mental health problems and related ills than active-duty troops.
Work by a team of 10 Northwestern Univesrity students in Medill’s graduate journalism program was published Feb. 15 in The Washington Postand is available on the Medill’s Hidden Surge site. Students interviewed more than 80 current and former military and health officials and experts, and National Guard and Reserve troops and their families, and reviewed scores of official documents and reports. They traveled to military bases, National Guard installations and medical centers in nine states to do on-the-ground reporting.