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White House Calls to Streamline Coverage of PTSD for Vets

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 12, 2010

In his weekly address on Saturday, President Obama said that the Department of Veterans Affairs will begin today to make it easier for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to receive the treatment and benefits that they need.

“Just as we have a solemn responsibility to train and equip our troops before we send them into harm’s way, we have a solemn responsibility to provide our veterans and wounded warriors with the care and benefits they’ve earned when they come home,” Obama said.

“We also know that for many of today’s troops and their families, the war doesn’t end when they come home,” Obama said. “Too many suffer from the signature injuries of today’s wars: post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. And, too few receive the screening and treatment they need.”

For many years, veterans with PTSD “have been stymied in receiving benefits” by requirements that they produce evidence proving a specific event caused the PTSD. Streamlining this process “is designed to help both the veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, along with generations [of older veterans], who have served and sacrificed for the country,” he said.

Under the new regulations, veterans will no longer have to just document specific events that caused their PTSD. Instead, they will be required to show a diagnosis of PTSD that was related to service overall.

“I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take notes to keep for a claims application. And, I’ve met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war,” Obama said.

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