Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

VA Destroyed PTSD Documents

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 2, 2010

WATCHDOG GROUP SAYS VA DESTROYED “NORMA PEREZ” PTSD DOCUMENTS

Norma Perez urged her VA employees to misdiagnose PTSD. Now, VA says backup tapes were destroyed, including the one containing the Perez email.

NOTE from Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org … In March of 2008, Norma Perez, a VA psychologist, sent an email to her employees telling them to misdiagnose PTSD … they should call it an “Adjustment Disorder.”

That email is here for viewing or download.

All hell broke loose in the veteran community.  Hearings were held.  The Perez email ended up as evidence in the Veterans for Common Sense lawsuit against the VA.

And, Norma Perez?  She got a transfer to a different VA facility.

For complete background on the Norma Perez scandal … use our search engine … here …
http://www.yourvabenefits.org/sessearch.php?q=norma+perez&op=and

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CREW Seeks Relief for VA’s Destruction of PTSD Documents

Author : Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Category : Press Release

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/crew-seeks-relief-for
-varsquos-destruction-of-ptsd-documents,1145359.shtml

WASHINGTON – (Business Wire) Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a brief seeking discovery after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) admitted to destroying documents responsive to CREW’s May 2008 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in CREW v. U.S. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs (D.D.C.). This lawsuit stems from CREW’s FOIA request for documents related to the VA’s policy of under-diagnosing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), after an email was revealed in which VA employee Norma Perez discussed this policy.

Since this issue first came to light, the VA has resisted providing any documents. Most recently the VA claimed it had produced everything it had despite the fact that it had not even turned over Norma Perez’s email or – despite public outcry and congressional hearings on the matter – any other records referring to the email. As a result, CREW argued the VA’s search clearly had been inadequate and, amazingly, the agency said that it couldn’t locate the email because it was destroyed in 2008, months after CREW filed both its FOIA request and this lawsuit. In fact, all the VA’s backup tapes were destroyed, including the one containing the Perez email. The VA says it cannot produce any emails predating December 9, 2008.

Based on the destruction of the records, CREW has asked the Court to let us depose VA employees who may have known exactly what the VA was doing about PTSD and the extent to which the agency refused to provide proper medical care for veterans with PTSD.

Anne Weismann, CREW’s chief counsel, stated, “It is incredible that with all of the public outrage and concern over this issue, the VA took no steps to preserve important records. This smacks of a cover-up to avoid liability for a disgraceful policy that deprived our nation’s veterans of appropriate health care.” Weismann continued, “The VA is not above the law; like all other agencies, it cannot simply destroy documents that have been requested under the FOIA just because those documents may cast the agency in a bad light.”

Click here to read CREW’s brief.

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