Monday, July 12, 2010

Opening the door to PTSD fraud

This is a horrible step - and a sad day for all who have served. If you have PTSD or not - if you served you are being marginalized.
The Veterans Affairs Department will publish a final regulation tomorrow intended to ease the claims process and improve access to health care for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, VA officials announced today.

“This nation has a solemn obligation to the men and women who have honorably served this country and suffer from the often-devastating emotional wounds of war,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said in a statement issued today. “This final regulation goes a long way to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and services they need.”

The new rule, to be published in the Federal Register, will relax the evidence requirement if the PTSD stressor claimed by a veteran is linked to “fear of hostile military or terrorist activity and is consistent with the places, types and circumstances of the veteran’s service,” a VA news release said.

Currently, VA decision makers are required to confirm that a noncombat veteran actually experienced a stressor related to hostile military activity, the release said.

Under the new rule, VA no longer will require substantiation of a stressor tied to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity if a VA psychiatrist or psychologist can confirm that the experience recalled by a veteran supports a PTSD diagnosis and the veteran's symptoms are related to the stressor, a VA release said.

“With this new PTSD regulation, we are acknowledging the inherently stressful nature … of military service in which the reality and fear of hostile or terrorist activity is always present,” Michael Walcoff, VA’s acting undersecretary for benefits, said during a news conference today.
It opens the door to wholesale PTSD fraud - which there already is plenty - and will cause a dilution of resources, intellectual capital, and funds from those who have clear PTSD.

PTSD fraud is well documented and grew huge roots after Vietnam. Those who practiced PTSD fraud then are largely responsible for the smear of that generation's vets - both with and without PTSD. This will only make it worse for our generation.

Make no mistake - there is $$$$$ in PTSD fraud. If you make it easier to practice that fraud - ECON 101 tells you all you need to know. Sure - you may help one; but you create enough fraud to smear thousands.

As a friend put it in correspondence with me yesterday, it DEFINES PTSD as "something a veteran says they have." It follows that legally there can be no such thing as PTSD fraud. (unless someone claims vet status fraudulently.) The fraud is the one the government is perpetrating on the American people.

This also separates veterans into two classes - those who admit they have PTSD and those who deny it. I believe Orwell saw this coming. "there is $$$$$ in PTSD fraud" - there is even more money in treating an "epidemic."

This makes me sick.

As well documented in B.G. Burkett's book about what happened to the Vietnam War generation of Vets - Stolen Valor : How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History - PTSD has a long history of fraud, and even worse, being used to smear all vets by using it as a cause of everything that may go wrong in a person's life.

The VA needs a human psychology and economics lesson it seems. They should know better.
Veterans Affairs Department officials who are lowering the bar for veterans to receive benefits related to post-traumatic stress disorder say they don’t expect more people to try to jump over it.

But VA may be underestimating a potential flood of claims that could result from an Obama administration decision to make it far easier for veterans who served in noncombat jobs to prove their mental health issues are service-connected.

Final rules are expected to be published in Tuesday’s Federal Register, and will apply to any PTSD-related claim filed beginning Tuesday or that is pending before VA, including those under appeal at any step in the process. As a result, retroactive benefits claims are possible for some veterans, because the effective date for benefits is the date a claim is filed.

Veterans whose PTSD claims were denied will have to reapply, with their benefits effective from the day of the claim.

Dr. Robert Petzel, VA undersecretary for health, described the new policy as “historic,” especially beneficial to women veterans and those who had been assigned to support and administrative units. Those veterans, unlike troops from combat units, had to prove they experienced something in their service that caused their PTSD. And the records of people in supporting units often don’t contain information about sniper fire, explosions, mortar attacks and other incidents that could be the cause of fear, helplessness and horror — the root causes of post-traumatic stress, Petzel said.
This is bad, very bad. This is bad for the taxpayer, for the veterans who have ligit PTSD, and for all veterans.

Like I warned in 2004 when I started this blog - they will marginalize us by making us all victims. If we are marginalized, then we don't have to be taken seriously and our opinions are of less value.


HUDcripple said...

No-documentation home loans worked so well, I'm sure there's nothing to worry about here...

We have the "stolen valor" act because people lie when there is no money at stake - I'm sure they will be honorable on their disability claim...

Unless the no-documentation PTSD drove them to wear an unearned MoH!

UltimaRatioRegis said...

C'mon, Phib.  What would YOU know?

Yer just a crazy AFG vet with PTSD, and don't know what you're saying.  Go back to your trailer and your menial job and your rebel flag and try not to bother the intelligensia, would you please?

Anonymous said...

And so it shal become the narative, that every one else will just "know" ('coz the Guv'ment told them so!) anyone who wore a uniform is about 100% capable of having PSTD, and noted, not in their right mind, and therefore, you shan't listen to the crazy people.

I'll wager this:  Other victims will be held up as someone to be listened to, since the PSTD didn't come as a result of service to the Nation.  That's not to diminish their plight, but just how the unequal application of the politically correct view will be supplied to the masses, just as CDR S has predicted.

Anonymous said...

Is there any connection between seeking PTS help and being placed on a "mental health" list that will be used to screen against firearms purchases or possession?

Frankly, I think millions of people are near PTSD status just from the horrendous damage inflicted upon this country and its citizens by the Obama administration.

Those who really have PTSD deserve and need our help.  But, as Phib correclty points out this is just another bottomless opportunity for fraud which will hurt the real folks and enrich the phonies.

Meanwhile there will also be fewer and fewer docs out there willing to accept retirees as patients when they are forced over to MEDICARE and TFL.  Makes you wonder what sort of idiots are running (or ruining) this country!

John said...

Sorry about the "Guest" on previous post...

Vigilis said...

<span>"This is bad, very bad. This is bad for the taxpayer, for the veterans who have ligit PTSD, and for all veterans."</span>
<span>True, and for the military, the division of which CDR Sal speaks could rapidly become the practical the equivalent of unilateral disarmament. </span>
<span>Next, those who wish to further weaken the world's premiere military will certainly bestow on troops the possibility of "ATSD" (Anticipatory Traumatic Stress Syndrome). Just in time to provide cover for the likes of Maj. Nidal Hasan.</span>
<span>Who is Obama calling on that encrypted, personal phone of his, CAIR?</span>

C-dore 14 said...

Guess this means that they've "ease[d] the claims process" for plain old service connected disabilities too, right?

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Not a chance, Commodore. 

Other disabilities aren't "sexy" and won't make us "victims" that can be pitied and marginalized.

Ruptured eardrum in 1986, 40% hearing loss (at least), reviewed half a dozen times, nary a dime for it.  How many artillerymen have also been told "no compensation for hearing loss"?

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span>Is there any connection between seeking PTS help and being placed on a "mental health" list that will be used to screen against firearms purchases or possession? "</span>

Precisely one of the proposals floated in committee.  PTSD with proscribed medications making us ineligible for firearm purchase/ownership under 27CFR.

"A person adjudicated mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or incompetent to handle own affairs, including dispositions to criminal charges of found not guilty by reason of insanity or found incompetent to stand trial."

There are several initiatives to expand  term "mental defective" to include those proscribed mood-altering or anti-depressant medications for PTSD.  Which is why the "crazy vet" movies seem to always have some sort of gunplay or sleeping with a loaded pistol under the pillow upon return.  IMHO.

MR T's Haircut said...

<span>DON"T HAVE NO TIME FOR THE JIBBER JABBER... BUT I wont be marginalized... </span>
<span>This is PRECISELY what I meant by comments in the previous movie vet victim thread...</span>

Salty Gator said...

Mr T I see now what you are saying.  You had me at "Pity tha foo...."

Salty Gator said...

I prefer the night stand.  but then again, I have no kids to worry about.

C-dore 14 said...

URR, Having been a gunnery officer and an engineer back in the pre-hearing protection days I fully understand your example.

11B40 said...


Wasn't it Eric Hoffer who said, "What starts off as a cause becomes a business and ends up as a racket" or some such?  F.A. Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" ends up with governmental dependency for almost all.  Would it help if we renamed the final regulation as the PTSD Industry Full Employment Act?  PTSD Jobs SAved or Created?  

Kristen said...


Kristen said...

Speaking of Stolen Valor, just yesterday I drove by a guy who was about forty, begging by the freeway, with a sign reading "Vietnam Veteran."  Uh huh.  And I'll bet people were buying it and giving him money.

And just last night I watched a tv show where one of the murderers was a psychotic AFG vet Special Forces medic.  Cause, you know, who else would it be?

Therapist1 said...

All the VA has done was to return to the diagnostic criteria rather than arbitrarily manipulating their data.  The problem originated with the VA classifying the PTSD incorrectly. They were purposefully interviewing individuals before it met the diagnostic criteria, minimizing the criteria and out and out lying about it while suggesting a disorder not covered by insurance:

All the while the independent and anonymous research of the RAnd Corp. found that 20% of OEF and OIF vets have the symptoms of PTSD or major depression in their; "
Invisible Wounds of War Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery"


The proper Dx would have been an Accute Stress reaction with a rule out of PTSD later.  However the VA made a calculated gamble that the email would not be leaked and that the savings would be worth it.  The symptoms are quite debilitating when you see it and a more comprehensive evaluation should be done to legitimize the claim but having attended a number of trainings, corresponded with the psychologists and worked with 2 military psychiatrists; they all believed that the numbers had been arbitrarily deflated for fear of the potential costs.

C-dore 14 said...

In <span>Stolen Valor</span>, Burkett writes about the appearance of "Desert Storm Vets" panhandling shortly after the end of the war.  I always ask these guys what their MOS/NEC was.  Nine times out of ten you'll get the "thousand yard stare" and it isn't PTSD related.

C-dore 14 said...

"Fear of potential costs" explains a lot of what the VA does.

DeltaBravo said...

Folks, something has told me we've all been told to count those in white shirts throwing the basketball.

There's always a gorilla somewhere....

Call me a skeptic. 

Therapist1 said...

It is why the proponents of Agent Orange related Sxs and Gulf War Syndrome took so long to be recognized despite hundreds medical articles discussing the effects of certain chemicals on civilian populations.

Andrewdb said...

I am not sure if it is a positive, but the Cal Penal Code was recently amended to include a specific section for diversion of criminal cases involving PTSD and combat experience.  I am hoping this will help with Lautenberg issues.

Andrewdb said...

The new Regs are now available here:

Therapist1 said...

The reg appears to meet the national standard of care.

Alpha Check said...

Clearly more restrictive standards for mental health treatment are needed, far too many people are getting care for mental issues that they don't need in an attempt to marginalize the military.