Murray seeks answers from Defense on review of PTSD diagnoses

Her request came after service members were misdiagnosed by a doctor at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. Some service members were told they didn’t have PTSD, when they did, because the doctor was trying to keep expenses down — veterans with PTSD are eligible to receive disability benefits.

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“The Department must act with a sense of urgency in order to complete this review and to act on its findings in coordinating with other ongoing efforts to improve the disability evaluation system,” Murray wrote to Panetta in a letter sent Thursday. “Each of these efforts is vital in ensuring service members truly have a transparent, consistent and expeditious disability evaluation process.”

Murray said Panetta promised to follow up after the misdiagnoses were first reported, but she added that the investigation seems to have stalled since being announced on June 13.

“In June, as part of this ongoing effort, you announced a comprehensive Department-wide review of mental health diagnoses,” the letter stated. “However, it appears that progress on this effort may have stalled. I am writing today to request the Department’s next steps and timeline for execution of this review.”

Murray also requested information on efforts to collect missing unit military records that she said could prove critical if certain healthcare problems arise from service in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“The lack of access to documentation of the locations and functions of specific military units interferes with the ability of both service members and veterans to obtain evidence of military service that may result in adverse health conditions now or in the future,” Murray wrote. “As we have learned from prior conflicts, this lack of documentation all too often leads to hardship for veterans in establishing a relationship between military service and a specific medical condition.”

Murray also urged Panetta to take steps to ensure unit records are archived and accessible, particularly in the Army.