Wednesday, April 2, 2008

PTSD out of control, under-staffed VA and Akaka wants to know why

Akaka and Sanders Meet with Veterans Affairs Secretary Peake
Urge action on health care eligibility for middle-income vets, National PTSD Center
By Kawika Riley, 4/1/2008 7:45:46 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) and committee member Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) met with Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake. They discussed funding for the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a proposal to modify VA’s income threshold to make more middle-income veterans eligible for VA healthcare. Akaka, Sanders and other committee members have pressed Secretary Peake on both issues since his recent confirmation as VA Secretary.

“As we move through the final year of this Administration and this Congress, we must work together to find common ground for the sake of our veterans. I appreciate the Secretary’s willingness to work with us on these issues,” said Akaka. Secretary Peake agreed during the meeting to look more closely into the income threshold for veterans, as well as strengthening support for the National Center for PTSD.

Senators Akaka and Sanders wrote Secretary Peake on January 24, 2008, urging him to dedicate more funds to the National Center for PTSD. The Center has taken on a larger mission and workload in recent years, due in part to the increased number of veterans suffering from PSTD. Already, more than 100,000 servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have reported mental health disorders, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Meanwhile, the PTSD Center’s budget, adjusted for inflation, has been flat for the past half-decade, and overall staff levels have been reduced since 1999.

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Now maybe the media will understand why advocates get so angry over all of this! Paul Sullivan of Veterans For Common Sense wouldn't have taken on the enormous task of suing the VA if this was not going on. There would be no need for any legal action if they had taken care of the wounded.

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