Veterans need healthcare benefits: Mentally ill or not?
Alone and sometimes feeling paranoid a Veteran returning home from war tries to put his life back together despite negative interactions between he and his neighbors, family and friends. Many soldiers experiencing difficult situations within a war community where they work can also deal with difficult persons right here at home in the United States. Some of these individuals are misrepresented in the news and because of different types of character defamation a veterans' family and neighbors are quick to judge and to interfere negatively in a their life based on misunderstandings. There are also disagreeable and mean people who do not respect soldiers and consider them mentally ill without ever speaking to them personally. One case study on Veterans: called Broken dreams and Defamation of character follows a Veteran who may have had a stable home to return too after he is uprooted while working for the U.S. government overseas during times of war. Soldiers work in troubling riots watching the deaths of citizens and young children in an unstable war community. Many co-workers die during their course of enlistments and the nightmares of what they saw haunt them for many years. Sometimes the pain and suffering of what they see never leaves their conscious mind and they cannot move ahead in their lives. They are in and out of the hospital and never become well enough to work again. Other times they are plagued by neighbors or family members who regard them as mentally ill without even talking to them to see if they feel well or not and this can sometimes interfere in their future success and progress. It's true that some of these veterans have years of sorting out how they feel and dealing with the traumatic experiences they have endured but some veterans are forced into hospitals without needing to be there and the stigma of mental illness follows them. But what about those that do need their mental health benefits?
"The VA is as much as two years behind in processing the claims of some veterans who desperately need help. In fact, there are veterans in this country dying before their paperwork is processed by the VA. In an excellent article for TOWNHALL, Darnin Selnick, an Air Force veteran and a presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, revealed that according to the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), just in the area of disability benefits there are more than 790,000 veterans waiting for their claims to be processed and the average waiting time is 332 days. Actually, 332 days is fast for the VA. The application packages of approximately one-quarter of a million veterans have been back logged for more than a year, and in some cases veterans have been waiting as much as two years. In his column for TOWNHALL, Darin Selnick summarized the situation as follows: “…the reality is that for too many veterans, experiences with the VA are anything but positive. They describe a process marked by rigid bureaucracy, poor communication, sluggish performance and in endless cases, unresponsive claims personnel who seem to have little investment in providing veterans with a high level of service.” It is hard to imagine federal bureaucrats so jaded, crass, and uncaring that they would treat so poorly men and women who have served their country so well. Unfortunately, the uncaring attitudes of too many VA representatives have been well documented. In May of this year, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) surveyed 500 veterans to get a feel for the quality of the VA’s services and the responsiveness of the organization’s personnel. Feedback from veterans was not encouraging. It frequently included such descriptive terms as “slow,” “frustrating,” “uncaring,” and “pitiful.” (see concernedveterans for America.org). The federal government—that is to say big government—is inefficient by definition. This is bad enough, but to be viewed as uncaring when the constituency the government agency is supposed serve consists of men and women who have put their lives on the line for our country and returned home disabled is unconscionable. Darin Selnick, with the informed view of an insider, recommends several administrative and policy changes the VA should take to correct this reprehensible situation: 1) Hold VA administrators and employees accountable for their attitudes and performance, 2) Set priorities so that service-related disabilities are processed before non-service related claims, and 3) Recruit administrative leaders from the private sector who know how to make customer service the VA’s number one priority and train all employees in customer service excellence. If ever there was a customer who deserved to be treated with dignity and respect, it is the American veteran. I agree with Selnick’s policy change recommendations, but would add three more. First, any VA employee who has a documented pattern of poor customer service should be sent to serve in Afghanistan along with his or her supervisor. Second, put a new administrator in charge of the VA and enable and empower that individual to do whatever is necessary to turn things around. If attitudes and efficiency at the VA do not change for the better within six-months, send the administrator to Afghanistan. Finally, when those VA personnel return from Afghanistan—if they return—make them stand in line at the most inefficient, uncaring VA processing center in America to get their claims processed." Medical benefits are now being updated quicker through grant programs and more and more programs are starting to surface." http://patriotupdate.com/articles/veterans-administration-case-study-in-governent-inefficiency/
What is MIRECC? The Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECC) are established by Congress this year September 2013 with the goals to direct research toward the causes and treatments of mental disorders. Using education resources as a part of the treatment will help to put new knowledge into routine clinical practices for Veterans at the VA's nationwide.
"Specialized mental health centers of excellence (MH CoE) are an essential component of VA’s response to meeting the mental health needs of Veterans. Many Veterans experience mental health problems. The mental illnesses commonly experienced by Veterans include depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders. Many Veterans with mental health problems meet criteria for more than one of these disorders and may also struggle with homelessness, suicidal behavior, and difficulties at work, school, and in relationships" http://www.mirecc.va.gov/
[Establishing Mental Health Centers of Excellence The first MH CoE, the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD), was created by Public Law 98-528 and opened in 1989. The NCPTSD was followed by the creation of Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECCs) through Public Law 104-262; there are now 10 MIRECCs. In 2005, three other specialized Centers in Canandaigua, NY, San Diego, CA, and Waco, TX, were established through Public Law 109-305; these centers were created to address the mental health needs of Veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs also established an additional MH CoE for the high priority area of the integration of mental health and primary care, the Center for Integrated Healthcare. All of the MH COE share a singular mission: to improve the health and well being of Veterans through world class, cutting-edge science, education and clinical care. The Centers are designed to be incubators for new investigators, new clinicians, new treatments, new ways of educating staff and patients, and new ways of delivering care. The concept of the MH COE is unique in combining education, research, and clinical care into a single program with the effect of dramatically reducing the time from scientific discovery to implementation. Multiple MH COE are needed because mental illness is not defined by a single disorder. It includes multiple complex conditions that differ in terms of cause, prevalence, symptom course, prognosis, and treatment. Accurately diagnosing and treating mental illness therefore requires comprehensive efforts focused on specific disorders and populations, rather than on mental illness in general.]