On behalf of those who are suffering and will continue to suffer from the adverse consequences of the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and command policies addressed within the report, we recommend these changes be implemented immediately.
Provide Adequate Veteran Health Care
The US government should ensure comprehensive medical and mental health treatment for all service-members and their families by allocating funding for these services as an integral component of any future war budget. Funding for long-term care within both DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs must be in proportion to the US government’s commitment of its troops to military operations which place their physical and mental health at risk.
The US government must also holistically reform its programs by systematically linking DoD with VA healthcare, as well as integrating VHA and VBA records systems, to foster a context of continuous healthcare for all service-members and veterans.
Discontinue over-reliance on prescription drug treatment for both medical and mental health issues.
Implement policy which ensures regular, periodic review of all VA healthcare facilities by independent, third-party civilian organizations who are qualified to evaluate adherence to the standards of medical and mental health care practice published by the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Psychiatric Association.
Pending the amelioration of VA wait times to access benefits and health care, provide all veterans with VA health care, as well as paid referrals to civilian healthcare providers in their local area, while their VA benefits claims are pending.
Establish consistent pre- and post-testing protocols (with the Army and Fort Hood Command) to properly diagnose instances of TBI.
- Decrease reliance on service-member self-reporting in screenings for psychological trauma and traumatic brain injury. Increase reliance on proactive and periodic diagnostic inquiry.
- Discontinue screening procedures which rely solely on questionnaires and paper forms.
- Ensure that every screening and diagnostic tool used on US service-members meets established diagnostic guidelines and codes of practice published by the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association.