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Unmeasured Unknowns: Report Critical of PTSD Treatments for Military, Veterans — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 23, 2014

Unmeasured Unknowns: Report Critical of PTSD Treatments for Military, Veterans

By Joe Elia

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD

U.S. veterans are increasingly seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, but according to an Institute of Medicine report, neither the Department of Veterans Affairs nor the Department of Defense "knows whether it is providing effective, appropriate, or adequate care for PTSD."

The report says PTSD prevalence increased from about 1% in 2004 to over 5% in 2012. In 2012, a half million veterans made at least two visits to the VA for PTSD outpatient care, yet outcome data on treatments were rarely collected. And in 2013, only about half the veterans with a primary PTSD diagnosis received the recommended eight sessions of psychotherapy within 14 weeks.

Among the report's recommendations: documenting patients' progress over the course of therapy and using evidence-based treatments according to established protocols.

Reader Comments (1)

Catherine Ratlff, JD, NCC Other, Other, Law Office
Competing Interests: I side with the Hot Springs community, which is working to prevent closure of the VAMC hospital and domiciliiary, while the VAMC director is working toward closure.

The director of the Hot Springs VAMC PTSD program - to get veterans off the waiting list - radically altered the inpatient PTSD program from an evidence-based closed program to open, labeled "university model," which allowed admissions at any times, and for veterans to "elect" components of the program and to "drop-add," resulting in chaos.

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