Veterans Groups Clash with VA over PTSD Diagnosis

Monday, January 03, 2011
At the same time that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made it easier for soldiers to file a post-traumatic stress disorder claim, the agency also made it more difficult to receive such a diagnosis, prompting veterans groups to sue the government over the latter change.
In 2010, the VA decided veterans no longer needed to provide witnesses to substantiate a claim of PTSD. This move was heralded by veterans’ organizations. But then it was learned that the agency adopted another new rule that states PTSD diagnoses must come from VA doctors, not private physicians.
“Before this change, if you had a competent examination from a private examiner [that conflicted with] a competent exam from a VA examiner, the benefit of the doubt would go to the veteran,” Richard Cohen, executive director at the National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA), told “With the new regulation they could say they don’t have to look at a private examiner now because they have one done by a VA examiner. And the preponderance of evidence then is against the claim.”
NOVA, along with the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Veterans of Modern Warfare, are suing the VA, arguing that the agency has offered no proof that only their doctors are best qualified to diagnosis PTSD.
PTSD claims have soared since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, going from 120,000 in 1999 to more than 345,000 in 2008.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
VA Sued Over PTSD Rule Change (by Bryant Jordan,
Lawsuit against VA (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) (pdf)


CavScout 12 years ago
anyone who believes that any va physician will give a vet any kind of help in obtaining any deserved benefits is delusional.
Danny-Boy Crawford 12 years ago
n evaluation and a diagnosis by a private physician or one who works for the veterans affairs simply state the facts. the only information that physicians or psychiatrists can annotate is what the veteran articulates to the physician. the diagnostic and statistical manual of disorders of mental disorders dsmv is the psych bible. contrary to the above marines personal opinion,"in fact, were actually nowhere near any situation that would warrant anything close". ptsd can be diagnosed in military personnel who have experiences in their lives traumas prior to military service or while being exposed virtually or psychologically to events that cause the trauma diagnosed as ptsd.the combat certainly exacerbates any former ptsd.
D B H 12 years ago
all percentage ratings include those who obviously don't meet the criteria for ptsd and that hurts us all. the backlog of claims make the waiting time for claim decisions incredibly long. more doctors are necessary and with private physicians included it can only help lessen the delay. there are a good percentage of private physicians who have served. i worked at the vamc as a vso with fdva from 1989-1999. i have seen veterans rated at 20% for ptsd (pow in korea for 2 years) and 0% (pow japan 2 years.) those rating amounts changed, but the fact that they existed at all is more than cause for concern. we all can find cases where there is too little or too much and witness those who have abused the system. just like those in the ssd network. more funds need to be specifically dedicated to the va to provide for inspectors is absolutely necessary to review the cases. we just need to keep improving and not reinvent the wheel. cpo,usn,ret (1968-1989)
usmcvietvet 13 years ago
My thoughts are that the VA should be the determining factor in regards to whether or not a veteran has been correctly diagnosed with PTSD. There are far too many private practice physicians that would "go along" with someone who claims they have PTSD. The private physicians are out to get all the income they can through the initial exam, and through follow-ups. The VA will do more applicable sessions and, from my experience, they are more than fair in making a PTSD determination. Let's face it...WAR IS HELL. But let's also face the fact that there are veteran's out there that would abuse their status as being in so-called PTSD situations that, in fact, were actually nowhere near any situation that would warrant anything close....just to get THE CASH ! No offense intended to any veteran that truly deserves the PTSD's the "10%'ers" that always have, and always will, screw things up for those who truly deserve it. Semper Fi

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