Army Standardizes PTSD Diagnosis

Army Standardizes PTSD Diagnosis

Week of August 20, 2012

The U.S. Army, along with the other military services and the Department of Veterans Affairs, is standardizing the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Army medical community is now being trained on guidelines spelled out in Army Medical Command Policy Memo 12-035 (Apr. 10, 2012), Policy Guidance on the Assessment and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The memo emphasizes the urgency of the issue. PTSD occurs in three to six percent of servicemembers with no deployment experience and in five to 25 percent of servicemembers who have been deployed to combat zones. For PTSD resources, visit the Army Behavioral Health PTSD Information webpage <> . For an immediate crisis, visit the National Suicide Prevention Hotline website <>  and call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) <> .



Legislative Information


Unfortunately Congressman Charlie Bass arrived too late to address the VFW on Saturday, as the election process had started and could not be interfered with, here is some interesting info forwarded from his office, as well as a couple of important links for us to keep up on what our government is doing for (to) us.

Paul Chevalier

Legislative Chairman


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Military Remains Focused on Finding Missing Soldier

06/08/2012 03:20 PM CDT


Military Remains   Focused on Finding Missing Soldier

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2012 – The Defense Department remains focused on   efforts to return the only U.S. service member known to be in Taliban   captivity to his family, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said today.

Kirby told reporters that freeing Army Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl is a constant   focus for commanders in Afghanistan.

“Every day … there is time, attention and sometimes substantial   resources applied to trying to locate, identify where he is and to continue   to look at options for how to get him home,” he said.

Kirby was asked about Bergdahl during a regular meeting with the Pentagon   press corps. The 26-year-old soldier was found missing from his duty station   in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009 and was declared missing/captured   three days later.

Bergdahl, from Hailey, Idaho, is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st   Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at   Fort Richardson, Alaska.

The Defense Department is keeping the Bergdahl family informed of efforts   to find and return their son, Kirby said.

“Our thoughts and prayers and our hearts go out to the Bergdahl   family and we appreciate the anguish that they continue to endure,” he   added.

Navy   Capt. John Kirby


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Updates from the U.S. Department of Defense

VFW Legislative Alert: Defense Budget Harms Military

VFW Legislative Alert – Defense Budget Harms Military

Take Action!

Background:All military retirees and active duty service members will see increases in their health care costs under the proposed Department of Defense (DOD) FY 2013 budget.

All existing fees and copays will drastically increase over the next five years.  Fees and copays will nearly double for lower retirement pay earners; however, because the budget proposals include tiers which tie future increases based on retired pay, many will pay more than four times the current amount within five years.  In addition to increasing existing fees and copays (starting Oct 1, 2012), the budget proposal would also institute entirely new and costly enrollment fees for TRICARE Standard and TRICARE for Life (TFL).

For example, a TFL beneficiary making less than $22,589 would pay $150 per individual by FY 2016, and the fee would be indexed to civilian medical inflation thereafter.

Active-duty service members and their families would also feel the pinch as copays for brand name drugs would double in 2013 for all pharmacy beneficiaries and would continue to rise each year.

We cannot stand by and allow the Defense budget to harm the military and its personnel. VFW opposes any increases in healthcare costs for all military retirees and our service members.

Congress must support a budget that does not include fee increases which passes budget savings on to our service members and retirees.

Action Needed:

Contact your Legislators today and urge them to block DOD’s authority to increase any TRICARE fees as part of the Defense Authorization bill. Those who have fought for our country deserve no less.  Congress should insist that DOD find efficiencies in other areas and leave those who have fought and continue to fight for our country out of any budget savings!

Let them know we expect any fee increases to be dead on arrival!





More Time for Gulf War Vets

More Time for Gulf War Veterans

Week of January 09, 2012

Veterans of the Persian Gulf War with undiagnosed illnesses have an
additional five years to qualify for benefits from the Department of
Veterans Affairs. For VA benefit purposes, Gulf War Veterans are defined as
those who served on active duty in the Southwest Asia theater during
Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn. At
issue is the eligibility of veterans to claim VA disability compensation
based upon those undiagnosed illnesses, and the ability of survivors to
qualify for VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. The new change means
any undiagnosed illnesses used to establish eligibility for VA benefits must
become apparent by Dec. 31, 2016. Veterans or survivors who believe they
qualify for these benefits should contact VA at 1-800-827-1000.

For complete guides to all veterans benefits, visit the
Benefits <>  Center.

VA Announces Changes to Emergency Care Payment Policy

WASHINGTON (January 12, 2012) – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today a change in regulations regarding payments for emergency care provided to eligible Veterans in non-VA facilities.

“This provision helps ensure eligible Veterans continue to get the emergency care they need when VA facilities are not available,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

The new regulation extends VA’s authority to pay for emergency care provided to eligible Veterans at non-VA facilities until the Veterans can be safely transferred to a VA medical facility.

More than 100,000 Veterans are estimated to be affected by the new rules, at a cost of about $44 million annually.

VA operates 121 emergency departments across the country, which provide resuscitative therapy and stabilization in life-threatening situations.  They operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  VA also has 46 urgent care units, which provide care for patients without scheduled appointments who need immediate medical or psychiatric attention.

For more information about emergency care in non-VA facilities, visit





Click here to view PDF on Vets4Warriors Peer support 24 hours a day program


New Mobil Vet Centers – Expanding Veterans Access to VA Services

VA Deploying 20 New Mobile Vet Centers

Additions to Fleet Will Expand Veterans’ Access to VA Services Across U.S.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (January  4, 2012) — The Department of Veterans Affairs today deployed 20 additional Mobile Vet Centers from the production facility of Farber Specialty Vehicles to increase access to readjustment counseling services for Veterans and their families in rural and underserved communities across the country.

“Mobile Vet Centers allow VA to bring the many services our Vet Centers offer Veterans to all communities, wherever they are needed,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel. “VA is committed to expanding access to VA health care and benefits for Veterans and their families, and these 20 new vehicles demonstrate that continued commitment.”

In an event attended by Petzel, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, representatives of the Ohio congressional delegation, and Veterans service organizations, VA launched the 20 new vehicles to their destinations ranging across the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

These customized vehicles–which are equipped with confidential counseling space and a state of the art communication package—travel to communities to extend VA’s reach to Veterans, Servicemembers and their families, especially those living in rural or remote communities.  The vehicles also serve as part of the VA emergency response program.

The 20 new, American-made vehicles will expand the existing fleet of 50 Mobile Vet Centers already in service providing outreach and counseling services.  The 50 Mobile Vet Centers were also manufactured by Farber Specialty Vehicles.  In fiscal year 2011, Mobile Vet Centers participated in more than 3,600 federal, state and locally sponsored Veteran-related events.  The VA contract for the 20 Mobile Vet Centers totals $3.1 million.

During the announcement event, Petzel also announced that Farber Specialty Vehicles recently won a competitive bid to produce 230 emergency shuttle vehicles for VA over the next five years.  The shuttles will provide routine transportation for Veteran patients in and around various metro areas during normal operations, but convert to mobile clinics that will facilitate the evacuation of patients and their care teams during disasters and emergencies.  The VA contract for the 230 emergency shuttles totals $53.5 million.

VA has 300 Vet Centers serving communities across the country, offering individual and group counseling for Veterans and their families, family counseling for military related issues, bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death, military sexual trauma counseling and referral, outreach and education, substance abuse assessment and referral, employment assessment and referral, VA benefits explanation and referral, and screening and referral for medical issues including traumatic brain injury and depression.

More than 190,000 Veterans and families made over 1.3 million visits to VA Vet Centers in fiscal year 2011.

To find out more about Vet Center services or find a Vet Center in your area, go to

The 20 new mobile Vet Centers will be based at:

  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Western Oahu, Hawaii
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Evanston, Ill.
  • Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Baltimore, Md.
  • Pontiac, Mich.
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Jackson, Miss.
  • Greensboro, N.C.
  • Lakewood, N.J.
  • Reno, Nev.
  • Stark County, Ohio
  • Lawton, Okla.
  • Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Washington County, Utah
  • Green Bay, Wis.

Call to Action by National VFW

To:    National Officers, National Council of Administration,
Department Commanders, Department Adjutants, Past Commander-in-Chiefs, National Legislative Committee, Action Corps, VFW Ladies Auxiliary and VFW Management Team

From:  Bob Wallace, Executive Director VFW Washington Office

Date:  November 22, 2011

Re:  What does Super Committee’s Failure mean to VFW?

The congressional Super Committee has thrown in the towel and admitted they cannot reach a bipartisan agreement to cut a minimum of $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade.  Under the law passed this summer, mandatory cuts will now take place across all federal departments and agencies beginning January 2013.

Where and how much, however, is still to be determined.

Each cabinet secretary will decide where the cuts will be made after the White House Office of Management and Budget identifies which, if any, programs are exempt.  Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare have been mentioned as being exempt, as have veterans programs, but no one has yet identified which veterans programs.

The VFW believes that veterans’ healthcare programs and benefits will be exempt from any cuts.  Questions remain, however, about increased co-payments for visits and prescriptions, as well as charging VA category 7 and 8 veterans an annual enrollment fee.  We will continue to monitor and report any new developments as they occur.

Over at the Defense Department are recommendations to change the pay and benefits of those currently serving and military retirees.  The threats include changing the military retirement system for future enlistees, limiting retiree healthcare program enrollment, and imposing or increasing healthcare fees on all TRICARE programs, regardless of age.  These proposals are in addition to possible reductions in force and cuts to other quality of life programs.  The budget crisis has also forced defense hawks to choose between supporting people programs and new weapon systems development.  Sadly, some have forgotten that it still takes people to occupy territory and to operate their shiny new aircraft, ships and tanks.

Our nation hollowed out its force after Vietnam and again after the first Gulf War.  If the past 10 years have proven anything, it is that the All Volunteer Force works, but it comes with a price and a promise to maintain the quality of life programs for those few who serve.  Since 9/11, many of the less than 1 percent of the population who volunteered to serve their nation have been deployed into the fight numerous times.  The service-connected disabilities thousands have already received will require a strong and viable military healthcare system to return them to duty, and a strong and viable VA healthcare system to meet their lifetime care needs.

Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress, amputations, and the risk of suicide are predominate issues of a military force at war.  The preservation of military and veteran benefits, improved quality and accessible healthcare, and continued medical research into alternative treatments is how our nation can properly repay those who go into harm’s way.

Over the next year, many in Congress as well as thousands of registered lobbyists will be working hard to protect their special interests and programs.   We must all work hard to protect the Department of Veterans Affairs health, benefits and cemetery administrations, as well as all military quality of life programs for the troops, their families and military retirees.

I ask each of you to contact your respective members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to demand that these programs be protected.  State Commanders and members of the National Legislative Committee must arrange individual face-to-face meetings with every member of their Congressional Delegation to alert them to our concerns.  These meetings should be in addition to your visits to your Congressional delegations during the March 2012 Legislative Conference.  I also ask that you report the responses you receive back to the VFW Action Corps at

These meetings will be in addition to a massive outreach campaign to the entire U.S. Congress that I ask National Legislative Committee members to spearhead in each state and department.  We need Congress to be flooded with letters and phone calls to protect veterans’ programs and military quality of life programs from any cuts.  This is an obligation of every member of the VFW and their families to keep the faith with our comrades who need us to be their collective voice in Washington.  Please refer to the VFW website for constant updates and the “10 for 10” issues we have raised, along with sample letters for your use.

The VFW needs you to make your voice heard now, because the most powerful message Congress can receive is from the folks who employ them — their voting constituents.

Thank you for your continued support of America’s heroes.

Executive Director
VFW Washington Office