A dispatch from Times D.C. correspondent Marc Heller:
WASHINGTON — Army Secretary John M. McHugh, grilled this morning on the Army’s system for diagnosing post traumatic stress disorder, said he agreed with a senator who was steamed that some service members’ PTSD diagnoses may have been reversed to save the Army money.
“I’m in full agreement with your perspective,” Mr. McHugh told Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who demanded a broader look at whether cases reported at Fort Lewis-McChord, Wash., are typical of other installations as well.
No one in the military should be declined health care for cost reasons, Ms. Murray said at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
Ms. Murray cited a report in the Seattle Times that a screening team at the post’s Madigan Army Medical Center reversed 40 percent of PTSD diagnoses in patients under consideration for medical retirement since 2007.
“This is an extremely disconcerting situation. I want to know if it’s system-wide,” Ms. Murray said, adding that she wants to make sure the Army is not dismissing questions about the story.
Mr. McHugh said that while it is not unheard of for diagnoses to change from time to time, the question is why the rate was so high at one location.
The newspaper reported that of more than 690 patients with diagnosed PTSD, the screening team reversed 290 cases. Some had been receiving treatment for PTSD for months or years after being diagnosed by doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the newspaper reported.