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Archive for the ‘Veterans Affairs’ Category

Veterans Day 2012 Poster Available

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 28, 2012

THANK YOU VETERANS

Click here to go to Veterans Day Poster Gallery

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Burn Pit Lung Condition Added to Social Security List of Compassionate Allowances

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 12, 2012

Jon Gelmans Workers Compensation Blog  August 11, 2012

The Social Security Administration has added to its list of compassionate allowances a pulmonary condition that has been identified as arising out of exposures to burn pits fumes and dusts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The pulmonary disease, constrictive bronchiolitis, is also called obliterative bronchiolitis or bronchiolitis obliterates. Medical research has been identified the medical condition as being causally related to exposures to dust and fumes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security to target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that we can obtain quickly. Compassionate Allowances is not a separate program from the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs.”

Click here to read more about burn pit claims for benefits and lawsuits.
Click here to request further information

Posted in Afghanistan, Burn Pits, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Iraq, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Army Wants PTSD Clinicians to Stop Screening for Fakers: Chances are they are probably ailing

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 3, 2012

While even the military realizes the dangers of delaying and denying PTSD Diagnoses and Treatment

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies and their Overly Zealous Defense continue to brutally delay and deny diagnoses and treatment of PTSD to injured war zone contractors, most having served their country in the military.

In fact they are still allowed to force PTSD patients to undergo psychological  interrogation by the infamous Dr John Dorland Griffith who has been discredited over and over again, and falsely accused injured war zone contractors of malingering.  Many PTSD claims were denied based on his paid in cash testimony.

In case after case treatable PTSD becomes a chronic lifelong condition, destroying lives, shredding families.

Ultimately costing taxpayers and our society as a whole much more in the long run but provide more profits for the insurer and ever more fees for attorneys on both side of this boondoggle.

The Department of Labor presented policy five years requiring PTSD Claims to be expedited but the policy was never implemented.

Wired’s Danger Room

In a big reversal, the Army has issued a stern new set of guidelines to doctors tasked with diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returning soldiers. Stop spending so much time trying to spot patients who are faking symptoms, the new guidelines instruct. Chances are, they’re actually ailing.

The 17-page document has yet to be made public but was described in some detail by the Seattle Times. In it, the Army Surgeon General’s Office specifically points out — and discredits — a handful of screening tests for PTSD that are widely used by military clinicians to diagnose a condition estimated to afflict at least 200,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

The Army Surgeon General finds great fault with a dense personality test popular with clinicians that ostensibly weeds out “malingerers,” as PTSD fakers are known.

But the results of what’s known as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Test are flawed, according to the report. PTSD sufferers often exhibit anxiety, insomnia, flashbacks and depression — all of which, some doctors believe, can be discounted under the test. The test devotes a large swath of questions to catching apparent exaggerations of symptom severity, seemingly inconsistent answers, or reported symptoms that don’t mesh with the typical signs associated with an illness.

“The report rejects the view that a patient’s response to hundreds of written test questions can determine if a soldier is faking symptoms,” the Seattle Times summarized. Where PTSD is concerned, that’s especially true. The condition is accompanied by symptoms that can differ markedly between patients: Some are hyperactive, others are lethargic; some exhibit frenetic rage while others are simply sullen and depressed.

“And,” the Times continued, “[the report] declares that poor test results ‘does not equate to malingering.’”

Those tests were the standard of care at Madigan Army Medical Center — which is a big deal. Located in Tacoma, Washington, Madigan isn’t just one of the military’s largest medical installations. It’s home to a forensic psychiatry team tasked with deciding whether soldiers diagnosed with PTSD were sick enough to qualify for medical retirement. In March, the Army launched an investigation of the Madigan team after Madigan’s screening procedures allegedly reversed 300 of the PTSD diagnoses among soldiers being evaluated.

The reversals resulted in some soldiers being diagnosed with “personality disorders” and others left with no diagnosis at all. Madigan allegedly used the tests to save money by limiting the number of patients who’d qualify for retirement. “

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Defense Medical Examinations, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Suicide, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Marine’s Suicide And A Family’s Fight For Compensation

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 28, 2012

“Danelle will say her husband died of a battle wound, it just took him 2-and-a-half-years to die.”

Here and Now Boston  February 28, 2012

There is no doubt the U.S. military has beefed up its suicide prevention efforts in recent years, adding mental health staff to deal with the huge influx of returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan but the suicides continue–an astonishing 18 veterans killed themselves each day, according to a recent Washington Post article.

The piece was written by the paper’s military reporter Greg Jaffe and it centers on the 2010 death of a former Marine, Maj. Jeff Hack, who killed himself more than two years after he left the military.

As Jaffe writes, Hackett was a standout Marine, plucked from the enlisted ranks to become an officer. But serving in Iraq, when 13 men under his command were killed, turned him on himself. After his first tour, he tried to retire early, but the Marines said “no” and sent him back for that second tour.

Once he came home for good, what happened will sound familiar to the families of other returning vets with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Heavy drinking, erratic behavior, and finally suicide in an America legion hall in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

What happened after Hackett’s death is really the subject of Greg Jaffe’s story, because while the Veterans Administration acknowledges Maj. Jeff Hackett died as a result of chronic PTSD connected to his Iraq experience, it still denied his widow Danelle a $400,000 life insurance claim.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, PTSD and TBI, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy Veterans Day

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 11, 2011

To all our Vets here at Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

And a special Thank you to Michael Leon, Gordon Duff, and the entire Veterans Today Network for their support and their efforts everyday to assist Veterans and Contractors alike.

Thank you also to our friends at Veterans for Common Sense for their tireless efforts to support Veterans

Posted in Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Veterans Day 2011 Poster Available

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 7, 2011

Download this poster here

 

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

War Widow Blames VA Neglect for her Husband’s Suicide

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 18, 2011

Sadly this reads like so many  Defense Base Act  PTSD Suicides, Neglect and unreasonable demands….

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. Courthouse News   October 18, 2011

Neglect and unreasonable demands from the Veterans Administration caused another Iraq war veteran to kill himself,

his widow claims in Federal Court. She says that despite a doctor’s “clear diagnosis” of post-traumatic stress disorder, from roadside bombs, including one that killed 93 people, the VA refused to admit he suffered from PTSD, with excuses such as “the diagnosis ‘does not specify which Diagnostic and Statistical Manual was used’”; and that he “‘failed to provide dates of the incidents or names of any casualties.’”
Tracy Eiswert says her husband Scott suffered substandard care from the VA hospital in Mountain Home, Tenn., before he killed himself in 2008. He was 31. She survives, with their two young children.
It’s the latest in a string of lawsuits from families of veterans nationwide, who say the VA was less than helpful after veterans returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VA in July 2010 relaxed requirements for veterans seeking service-connected PTSD benefits, but the agency still faces criticism for its mental health services.
The 9th Circuit ruled this year in a California class action that the “VA’s failure to provide adequate procedures for veterans facing prejudicial delays in the delivery of mental health care violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” according to Tracy Eiswert’s complaint.
Scott Eiswert joined the National Guard in 2001 and served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

Tracy Eiswert says her husband first sought help for his symptoms after he was honorably discharged in November 2005.
She says Scott saw a professional counselor at a private mental health facility in Greeneville for almost 4 months. Scott’s symptoms included depression, acute insomnia, extreme stress and irritability, according to medical records described in the complaint.
His counselor recommended individual psychotherapy and reported to Scott’s physician that he “certainly appears to meet the criteria for PTSD,” the complaint states.
According to the medical records, in May 2006, Scott’s counselor wrote a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs, stating: “After meeting with Mr. Eiswert for several appointments, we have established a diagnosis of PTSD, per the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual Criteria.”
The widow says her husband applied to the VA for service-connected PTSD benefits based on the counselor’s diagnosis.
The complaint states:
“In the application Scott describes a number of incidents in Iraq as follows:
“Various Route Clearances – Roadside Bombs, Raids
“Convoy Escorts, all the Outside Wire Dangers and Stresses.
“Close Calls on Roadside Bombs
“Car Bombs and the Destruction they Cause, Including Civilian Fatalities (Body Parts)
“‘I was on a Raid with Fellow Soldiers when they got Blown-Up by a Massive Roadside Bomb. (93 Dead, 1 Crippled)” [Punctuation as in complaint.]
But the VA denied his claims three times before he killed himself, his widow says.
In its September 2006 denial, the VA stated that Scott’s counselor “does not specify which Diagnostic and Statistical Manual was used.’ The denial analysis also states that even though Scott provided ‘sufficient details concerning a stressor …’ it ‘failed to provide dates of the incidents or names of any casualties.’” (Ellipsis in complaint).
Tracy Eiswert says the VA doctor who assessed Scott did not have access to the records of Scott’s private counselor and “relied entirely on Scott’s narrative to make his assessment.” She says the VA doctor “concluded that ‘veteran has current diagnosis of depression, NOS. He does describe symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, however not enough to meet criteria.’”
(NOS apparently indicates “not otherwise specified.”)
The VA denied Scott’s claim a second time in November 2006, after receiving additional medical records from the Tennessee National Guard.
Tracy Eiswert says VA doctors gave Scott medications for depression and insomnia, but he did not tolerate them well.
By early 2007, Scott reported increased marital and family problems, increased irritability, nightmares, night sweats and difficulty sleeping, according to medical records in the complaint

Please read the entire story at Courthouse News

Posted in AIG and CNA, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Medical Examinations, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, PTSD and TBI, Suicide, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Military superbug, quiet civilian epidemic

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 21, 2011

What this article fails to point out is that Acinetobacter baumannii infections were extremely rare in the US prior to the invasion of Iraq.  The Iraq Infections website mapped the spread of this Superbug from the military medical system to community hospitals across our country beginning in 2004. Acinetobacter baumannii spread from Landstuhl and the three main military hospital centers, to the VA hospitals, to the community hospitals.

Severely injured Civilian Contractors were repatriated via the military medical evacuation system then delivered to unsuspecting community hospitals in the US, the UK, Australia, and the many third world countries the TCN’s come from.

The quiet civilian epidemic was allowed to propagate due to the DoD and CDC‘s concerted effort to cover up this disaster that the Military had created themselves.  The DoD promoted such notions as the insurgents were putting Acinetobacter on bombs and the Main Stream Media (here and here) parroted the propaganda.   The CDC claimed they were not “authorized” to talk about it.

The military knew all along that Acinetobacter baumannii was a hospital acquired organism yet promoted the lie that it came from the soil in Iraq.  The original strains of Ab infecting soldiers and contractors were matched to the European (Landstuhl) strains which were already fast becoming a problem there.

See some of the Casualties of Acinetobacter baumanii

Military superbug, quiet civilian epidemic

(Notice even this reporter cannot escape the notion that the sand in Iraq was responsible)

A thick layer of dust covers the blazing hot combat fields of Afghanistan and Iraq, getting under soldiers’ helmets, chalking up their fatigues and covering exposed skin. When enemy fire hits, troops often sustain severe burns and open wounds with shredded surrounding skin. Medical aid is generally faster than in any other U.S. wars, thanks to technology and a transport chain designed for high speed. When medics come, there’s an efficient process of lifting wounded troops onto open transport vehicles, prodding them with devices to assess vitals, wrapping their wounds and giving them fluids and blood. But during all that activity, the dust, the many hands and bandages, open wounds and needle punctures give other enemies — microscopic superbugs — an opportunity to attack from the inside.

For troops wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the most prolific superbugs has been an almost exclusively hospital-bred strain of bacteria known as “Iraqibacter,” a mutated version of the common acinetobacter baumannii. While military hospitals have waged a somewhat successful internal battle against the bacteria, for civilian hospitals in the U.S. and around the world, these bugs are a formidable foe.

“The data we were seeing shocked us into action,” (is five years the normal reaction time?) said Colonel Dr. Duane Hospenthal, Infectious Diseases Consultant for the U.S. Army Surgeon General. In fall 2008, the military expanded its infection monitoring and control system, also known as GEIS (Global Emerging Infectious Surveillance), to include acinetobacter and other multidrug-resistant organisms. This overhaul followed a spate of high-profile stories in Wired magazine and on the PBS program “Nova” about the prevalence of acinetobacter at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Please read the entire story here

Posted in Acinetobacter, Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Defense, Political Watch, Toxic Exposures, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Epidemic: Over 400,000 Traumatic Brain Injuries for Vets Coming from Iraq and Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 26, 2011

With like numbers of Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, similar casualty rates though we do not know who they are, why are contractors not receiving screening and medical treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries? 

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies deny diagnoses and treatment for TBI for the precious years that are so vital to the injured contractors recovery.  Years that no amount of money can ever bring back.

“We now know that the brain can heal. It has an intrinsic plasticity that allows it to recover, and this is particularly true for the young brain.”

A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that “neurons in the adult brain can remodel their connections,” thus “overturning a century of prevailing thought.”

The DOD has long resisted the diagnosis of mTBI, as it has avoided paying for a successful – but expensive – way to treat it. The price of that resistance is escalating suicide rates and domestic violence incidents among returning soldiers. In 2010, almost as many soldiers committed suicide as fell in battle.

By Conn Hallinan at AlertNet

America faces a huge challenge in caring for the shocking number of traumatized war vets.

“We are facing a massive mental health problem as a result of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a country we have not responded adequately to the problem. Unless we act urgently and wisely, we will be dealing with an epidemic of service related psychological wounds for years to come.” — Bobby Muller, President Veterans for America

According to official Defense Department (DOD) figures, 332,000 soldiers have suffered brain injuries since 2000, although most independent experts estimate that the number is over 400,000. Many of these are mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), a term that is profoundly misleading.

As David Hovda, director of the Brain Injury Research Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, points out, “I don’t know what makes it ‘mild,’ because it can evolve into anxiety disorders, personality changes, and depression.” It can also set off a constellation of physical disabilities from chronic pain to sexual dysfunction and insomnia.

MTBI is defined as any incident that produces unconsciousness lasting for up to a half hour or creates an altered state consciousness. It is the signature wound for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where roadside bombs are the principal weapon for insurgents.

Most soldiers recover from mTBI, but between five and 15 percent do not. According to Dr. Elaine Peskind of the University of Washington Medical School, “The estimate of the number who returned with symptomatic mild traumatic brain injury due to blast exposure has varied from the official VA [Veterans Administration] number of 9 percent officially diagnosed with mTBI to over 20 percent, and, I think, ultimately it will be higher than that.”

Serious consequences from mTBI are increased when troops are subjected to multiple explosions and “just get blasted and blasted and blasted,” in the words of Maj. Connie Johnmeyer. Out of two million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 800,000 have had multiple deployments, many up to five times or more.

But mTBI is difficult to diagnose because it does not show up on standard CAT scans and MRIs. “Our scans show nothing,” says Dr. Michael Weiner, professor of radiology, psychiatry and neurology at the University of California at San Francisco and director of the Center for Imaging Neurodegenerative Disease at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center.

They do now.

An MRI set to track the flow of water through the brain’s neurons, has turned up anomalies that indicate the presence of mTBI. However, the military has blocked informing patients of results of the research, and if history is any guide, the Pentagon will do its best to shelve or ignore the results.

The DOD has long resisted the diagnosis of mTBI, as it has avoided paying for a successful – but expensive – way to treat it. The price of that resistance is escalating suicide rates and domestic violence incidents among returning soldiers. In 2010, almost as many soldiers committed suicide as fell in battle.

MTBI is hardly new. Some 5.3 million people in the U.S. are currently hospitalized or in residential facilities because of it, and its social consequences are severe.  Please read the entire story at AlertNet

Posted in Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Insurance, Injured Contractors, Iraq, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, T Christian Miller, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Johnny doesn’t come cheap, but there is a lot to win for his contributors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 11, 2011

Smiling all the way to the bank

Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia has presented Bill S. 669 to the Senate which has been referred to a committee on which he sits, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, for deliberation, investigation, and revision.

Bill S.669 was introduced AS IT WAS WRITTEN BY IT”S SPONSOR who is Senator Johnny Isakson, who is heavily supported by Insurance Companies and Attorneys who stand to reap ever larger profits than they already do if this bill were to become law.  Nearly every aspect of the Bill would be a huge present to the Defense Base Act Insurance business.

Johnny is looking out for the insurance companies and attorneys

This grim reaper sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee as well.

Johnny Isakson can be contacted at 202-224-3643.
1175 Peachtree St Ne
Atlanta, GA 30361
Phone : (404) 347-2202
The following is from the Johnny Isakson page at MapLight.org

Total Campaign Contributions Received by Johnny Isakson: $8,231,997

Interest Contributions
Real Estate $854,942
Lawyers/Law Firms $449,582
Health Professionals $298,416
Insurance $251,650
Banks and Credit $236,150
Lobbyists $214,261
Securities & Investment $200,500
Misc Finance $178,075
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $167,500

Posted in Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Follow the Money, Hope that I die, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Crisis Hotline takes record number of calls

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 27, 2011

Army Times   May 25, 2011

The Veterans Affairs Department’s Veterans Crisis Line received 14,000 calls in April, the highest monthly volume ever recorded for the four-year-old suicide prevention program.

“Every day last month, more than 400 calls were received,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chairwoman who disclosed the call volume during a Wednesday hearing. “While it is heartening to know that these calls for help are being answered, it is a sad sign of desperation and difficulties our veterans face that there are so many in need of a lifeline.”

The hotline, established in 2007, is a suicide prevention and crisis counseling program available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The number is 800-273-8255.

Antonette Zeiss, VA’s chief mental health officer, said that since the 2007 launch, the call center has received more than 400,000 calls, referred 55,000 veterans to local suicide prevention coordinators for same-day or next-day help and initiated 15,000 “rescues” of callers near suicide.

Please see the original here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, PTSD and TBI, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

CNA, AIG, ACE Ignore the PTSD Family

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 5, 2011

“To see the man inside the trauma,

to think that love can overcome what war has rendered,

to be the enemy of the man who professes to love you …

it is a hard, hard love to have.

It is isolating beyond anything I have ever experienced.

The men have the VA.

The spouses have nothing.

And yet we are the ones who contend with the effects of PTSD daily.

The children have to deal with the effects.

It’s a disease of the family, and it ruins lives.”

Jana Studelska to the Duluth News Tribune

Increasingly PTSD in  Active duty and Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars is being acknowledged and they are receiving help. Families are sent to counseling as well.

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies are ruining entire families with their reckless denials of diagnoses, treatment, compensation.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Hope that I die, Injured Contractors, PTSD and TBI, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Congress to Investigate Pentagon Decision to Deny Coverage for Brain Injured Troops

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 24, 2011

By T Christian Miller  ProPublica and Daniel Zwerdling NPR

WASHINGTON, D.C.–A key congressional oversight committee announced [1] today that it was opening an investigation into the basis of a decision by the Pentagon’s health plan to deny a type of medical treatment to troops with brain injuries.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the chairman of the subcommittee on contracting oversight, said she wanted to examine a contract issued by Tricare, an insurance-style program used by soldiers and many veterans, to a private company to study cognitive rehabilitation therapy for traumatic brain injury. Such injuries are considered among the signature wounds of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The study, by Pennsylvania-based ECRI Institute, found insufficient or weak evidence to support the therapy. Often lengthy and expensive, cognitive rehabilitation programs are designed to rewire soldiers’ brains to conduct basic life tasks, such as reading books, remembering information and following instructions. ECRI’s findings ran counter to several other studies, including ones sponsored by the Pentagon and the National Institutes of Health, which concluded that cognitive rehabilitation was beneficial.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, McCaskill cited an investigation [2] by ProPublica and NPR in December, which found that top scientific experts had questioned the Tricare-funded study in confidential reviews, calling it “deeply flawed” and “unacceptable.”

“If true, these reports raise significant questions regarding the Department’s award and management of the contract with ECRI Institute, and may have profound implications for hundreds of thousands of injured service members and their families,” McCaskill wrote. “We owe it to our brave service members to find the truth.”

The ProPublica and NPR investigation also found that senior Pentagon officials have worried about the high price of the care, which can cost more than $50,000 per patient. Some studies estimate that as many as 400,000 troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries in the war zones, though only a small percentage of them would need a full-scale program of cognitive rehabilitation therapy.

McCaskill joins a growing chorus demanding that Tricare reconsider its decision to deny coverage for cognitive rehabilitation. In recent weeks, the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans’ organization, called [3] on Tricare to provide treatment. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee with oversight of the Middle East, sent a letter [4] to Gates asking for an explanation of Tricare’s stance.

McCaskill was also one of the senators who signed a letter [5] in 2008 asking Gates to direct Tricare to begin providing cognitive rehabilitation to troops. This November, the Pentagon sent a response [6] to Congress informing them of the Tricare study’s findings. George Peach Taylor Jr., then-acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said the Pentagon would continue to study the treatment, with another report expected later this year.

In strongly worded response [7] on Jan. 19, McCaskill said that the senators who signed the original letter believed that enough evidence existed on the treatment’s benefits to justify covering the cost for brain-damaged soldiers.

She asked for Gates to provide her committee with a series of documents on the contract and critical scientific reviews by Feb. 18.

“While we agreed that further research on cognitive rehabilitation therapy was appropriate, we also called on the Defense Department to err on the side of providing this proven treatment to service members,” McCaskill wrote.

ProPublica and NPR have filed a similar request under the Freedom of Information Act, but Tricare has denied access to the documents, giving contradictory explanations [8] for why. ProPublica and NPR have appealed.

Tricare officials have said their decision to deny cognitive rehabilitation is based on regulations requiring scientific proof of the efficacy and quality of treatment. They have said that the study by ECRI highlighted a lack of rigorous evidence proving the therapy’s benefits.

Tricare officials also noted that the agency does cover some types of treatment considered part of cognitive rehabilitative therapy. For instance, Tricare will pay for speech and occupational therapy, which plays a role in cognitive rehabilitation. Tricare officials deny that cost played any role in their decision. In a statement [9], Tricare said the care of troops was their “utmost” concern.

Tricare did not immediately return requests for comment on McCaskill’s investigation.

ECRI defended its study. The non-profit institute, which has carried out numerous health reviews for Tricare, other agencies and hospital and medical groups, said they applied standard protocols in reviewing scientific literature about the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation therapy. ECRI provided a document explaining its review here [10].

“The issue of how well cognitive rehabilitation therapy works for traumatic brain injury is important,” said Jeffrey C. Lerner, the president and CEO of ECRI Institute. “ECRI Institute is fully committed to providing information to the U.S. Senate on our report and methodology.”

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Delay, Deny, Injured Contractors, Iraq, PTSD and TBI, T Christian Miller, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yes, AIG, CNA, ACE are KILLING YOU

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 7, 2011

AIG, CNA, and ACE are causing  your general health to deteriorate with every day that they deny you diagnoses and treatment of PTSD.

AIG, CNA, ACE even contribute to many injured contractors  MDD and PTSD with these negligent and bad faith insurance practices.

Yes, AIG, CNA, ACE are  KILLING YOU !!

Reasearch Examines Link between PTSD and Inflamation

BETHESDA, MD—The science into the biological mechanisms behind the psychological symptoms of PTSD is still in its infancy, but studies have linked PTSD to other serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, fatigue, and metabolic disorders. Research funded by NIH is suggesting that the cause of this link might have its roots in endocrine and immune function differences in patients with PTSD and most significantly in those with co-morbid major depressive disorder.

Inflammation and PTSD

“PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD) share a common vulnerability along the experience of a trauma, such that they are highly comorbid. Depression is a significant risk factor for the onset of PTSD following a trauma,” explained Jessica Gill, PhD, RN, an assistant clinical investigator at the National Institute of Nursing Research, during an NIH clinical center lecture last month. “When the two diseases are comorbid, additional medical conditions present, including conditions that have an inflammatory pathology.”

Gill’s research over the last few years has led her to describe the endocrine and immune function differences in patients with PTSD and MDD, and to link inflammatory risks in those patients with subsequent physical health decline. “We need to understand why PTSD is often related to low levels of cortisol, especially when MDD is comorbid,” Gill said. “It’s counterintuitive to what we would think since stress such as trauma is associated with high levels of cortisol and over-activation of that system.”

It is also counterintuitive to find lower levels of cortisol—a glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal gland in times of stress—in patients with PTSD and MDD, since depression alone is associated with higher levels of plasma cortisol, Gill added. And yet in individuals who experience early life trauma and have MDD without PTSD, studies show lower levels of cortisol in their systems.

Studies have also found that patients with PTSD and comorbid MDD have greater levels of the inflammatory marker interleukin-6 (IL-6). “Studies of Katrina survivors and survivors of myocardial infarctions show higher levels of IL-6 in those patients with PTSD and MDD. But when depression is controlled for, these findings are no longer significant,” Gill explained.

In a study published in 2008, Gill looked at baseline endocrine and immune function in women with PTSD, women with PTSD and comorbid MDD, and controls. She and her colleagues found that cortisol was significantly lower in those women with PTSD and inflammatory markers were significantly higher. There was also a trend of elevation in the PTSD and MDD group compared to PTSD alone. There were similar findings in a previous study of male and female refugees.

However, in studies of male combat veterans with PTSD and no MDD, there were higher immune cell counts in relation to cortisol levels.

A 2009 study by Gill looked at overnight levels of endocrine and immune markers in PTSD and MDD patient populations, and added the injection of hydrocortisone upon waking. The study confirmed that individuals with PTSD and MDD had significantly reduced levels of cortisol, especially in the morning hours. The researchers focused on nocturnal levels because patients with PTSD frequently suffer from sleep/wake cycle disturbances that significantly impact health. Also, high levels of IL-6 prior to waking have been shown to be a significant risk factor for myocardial infarction.

The study found IL-6 to be significantly elevated in the PTSD and MDD group. But it was the PTSD without MDD group that was hyper-responsive to the administration of hydrocortisone. For those patients with PTSD and MDD, even after administration of hydrocortisone, their IL-6 levels remained significantly higher. This could have significant impact on patient health, since inflammatory markers have been linked to significant risk for mortality and morbidity.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, Injured Contractors, PTSD and TBI, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PTSD Tragedy in Sante Fe: Veteran Diego Gonzales wanted help

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 30, 2010

27-year-old veteran suffering PTSD may have fired fatal bullet himself

Diego Gonzales wanted help.

It didn’t come in time for the 27-year-old Pecos High School graduate, who was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder after two tours of duty in Iraq and another in Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine Corps sniper. He died late Tuesday in a shootout with police on Interstate 25 south of Santa Fe.

It’s still unclear whether the fatal shot came from state police or from Gonzales’ own gun. That won’t be determined until an autopsy is completed by the state Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque.

“He was owning up to the fact that he had problems he knew he had to fix to be the best dad he could be,” said Lawrence Lujan, a childhood friend who spoke on behalf of the Gonzales family. “He did his thing in Iraq, served this country, and did so honorably. God only knows what he saw. But he was affected deeply, and he was seeking treatment for PTSD.”

According to New Mexico State Police and Gonzales family accounts, after an argument about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, Gonzales took his 26-year-old wife, Ashley Varela-Gonzales, who is nine months’ pregnant with the couple’s second child, and their 2-year-old son, Diego Jr., from a home in Pecos.

State Police Officer Bryan Waller, who has been with the department for two and a half years, responded to what was called in as a kidnapping. Waller tried pulling over Gonzales’ large, black Ford F-350 pickup as it headed down Interstate 25 toward Albuquerque, where Gonzales worked for the Transportation Security Administration at the Albuquerque International Sunport.

Gonzales pulled over at the southbound Cerrillos Road exit.

“That is when he stopped his truck and began firing at one of our officers with a pistol,” Lt. Eric Garcia said. “Our officer returned fire with his duty weapon (an AR-15 rifle). Both vehicles were hit, and it is unclear whether (Gonzales) was hit in the exchange before he turned his gun on himself.”

Garcia said after the gunfire stopped, Varela-Gonzales ran from the truck and said her husband had shot himself.

Please read the entire story here at the Sante Fe New Mexican

 

Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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