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"How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits" article at The Nation is a must read. It's flying under the radar of the media right now, but I suspect once word gets about this this one, it could be very damaging to the current mis-administration.

Something has to be done about this outrage.

In a nutshell, soldiers diagnosed as having "personality disorders" no longer receive disability and medical benefits from the Army and the VA. This is being used in incredible instances, denying care to people who have been mangled fighting in our military. People are being denied legitimate claims, to save the government billions, and to 'fast track' replacement of troops, enabling others to take their place quickly.

Soldiers discharged under 5-13 can't collect disability pay either. To receive those benefits, a soldier must be evaluated by a medical board, which must confirm that he is wounded and that his wounds stem from combat. The process takes several months, in contrast with a 5-13 discharge, which can be wrapped up in a few days.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town's wounds were actually caused by a "personality disorder." Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits.

Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans' rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.

We need to be hollering about this incredible insult to the very people who are risking their necks for the bloated Republican pigs, in a needless war in Iraq, and a lie of trying to fight this fake 'war on terror' in Afghanistan.

'Separation because of personality disorder' is being used by the military  to cuts costs.

As unbelievable as you could think, Spc Town was diagnosed that his DEAFNESS caused by a pre-existing personality disorder!!! This is how he was separated with a personality disorder, to deny him benefits. He had won 12 medals before the assault that caused his deafness.

Paraphrasing Josh Kors: 'In the last 6 years 22,500 soldiers have been discharged as having 'personality disorders', saving the government some $12.5 billion dollars by denying care. $8 billion in disability pay and $4.5 billion in medical care.'

'Soldiers are screened BEFORE they are allowed into the military, it's only when they return wounded that the supposed "pre-existing" conditions come to light.'  

To add insult to injury, some of those "diagnosed" as having this 'personality disorder' as a reason for separation are forced to give back their elistment signing bonuses as well. On the day of their discharge, the injured soldiers are informed they OWE the military money.

Un-fucking believable. I am enraged. I only hope I have out together a cogent diary, I tend to be a poor editor when I am pissed off.

------------

I have kicked this show in the past, in the rear end because I find Robin Young to be biased against a lot of things I believe in. But I will give kudos where they are due, this time to Robin Young at WBUR *[audio link, listen to the show here]* .. Young had the author of The Nation article on her show today, Joshua Kors. the audio segment is about 10 minutes long, and it's shocking as hell, a must listen - it was her show, 'Here and Now' that brought this to my attention.

See Kors' webpage or The Nation for more information.
------------

22,500 soldiers diagnosed as having 'personality disorders' in the last 6 years is big, really big. This story is going to hit the media like tsunami: If the Walter Reed story primed the fire, this story is going to pour gasoline all over it.

These practices are beneath contempt. Those who perpetrate them, encourage them or attempt to obfuscate the facts about them need to be routed out and held to account.

Originally posted to Shpilkis M Katz on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:09 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Beneath contempt, how long must the truth be (35+ / 0-)

    hidden from this country?

    These Republican swine that refuse to allow investigation for the past 6 years are about to get their comeuppance.

    We're all on the road to perfection. Some are further along on the trip, some headed in the wrong direction.

    by shpilk on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:08:11 PM PDT

  •  Funny - (13+ / 0-)

    I'm sure having a "personality disorder" doesn't prevent a person from qualifying for recruitment (even though I'm sure this is a false claim for the subject of the diary).

    Sickening what's happening to these soldiers.

    Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known---Carl Sagan

    by LibChicAZ on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:21:03 PM PDT

  •  Can you imagine their families? (18+ / 0-)

    I can.  I knew kids kicked off bases because dads were killed or injured.  They had no where to go often in the short amount of time.  One day they were my friends, the next they were gone.  As the empty base housing on our street was left without tenants, we were more vulnerable to vandals.  

    We left many times in the middle of the night to go stay with my grandparents.  We had few neighbors towards the end of Vietnam, so we just moved into my grandparents house.  

    What will happen to the children of Iraqi War Veterans?  They will grow up wondering if this was all worth it.

  •  What kind of doctors are these? (10+ / 0-)

    They're every bit as bad as the company doctors in mining communities who refused to diagnose black lung - or maybe as bad as those who served Nazi Germany in the death camps.

    Ok, that last was over the top. But then, who are the doctors at Guantanamo? And what are they doing?

    WORST GODDAMN PRESIDENT SINCE 1789.

    by perro amarillo on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:32:05 PM PDT

    •  These doctors should loose their licenses (7+ / 0-)

      They are harming their patients and are grossly unethical. Nobody who treats patients like this should be allowed to practice medicine.

      One military official says doctors at his base are doing more than withholding this information from wounded soldiers; they're actually telling them the opposite: that if they go along with a 5-13, they'll get to keep their bonus and receive disability and medical benefits. The official, who demanded anonymity, handles discharge papers at a prominent Army facility. He says the soldiers he works with know they don't have a personality disorder. "But the doctors are telling them, this will get you out quicker, and the VA will take care of you. To stay out of Iraq, a soldier will take that in a heartbeat. What they don't realize is, those things are lies. The soldiers, they don't read the fine print," he says. "They don't know to ask for a med board. They're taking the word of the doctors. Then they sit down with me and find out what a 5-13 really means--they're shocked."

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 08:41:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing makes me angrier than this (7+ / 0-)

    All for what relative to the costs of war is peanuts.

    M-O-O-N! That spells Iran!

    by cskendrick on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:41:50 PM PDT

  •  from the article (11+ / 0-)

    Exactly how much money is difficult to calculate. Defense Department records show that across the entire armed forces, more than 22,500 soldiers have been dismissed due to personality disorder in the last six years. How much those soldiers would have collected in disability pay would have been determined by a medical board, which evaluates just how disabled a veteran is. A completely disabled soldier receives about $44,000 a year. In a recent study on the cost of veterans' benefits for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Harvard professor Linda Bilmes estimates an average disability payout of $8,890 per year and a future life expectancy of forty years for soldiers returning from service.

    Using those figures, by discharging soldiers under Chapter 5-13, the military could be saving upwards of $8 billion in disability pay. Add to that savings the cost of medical care over the soldiers' lifetimes. Bilmes estimates that each year the VA spends an average of $5,000 in medical care per veteran. Applying those numbers, by discharging 22,500 soldiers because of personality disorder, the military saves $4.5 billion in medical care over their lifetimes.

    Even if there might be a few people who could be 'legitimately' classified with having a pre-existing personality disorder, what responsibility does the government, which is supposed to be screening for this PRIOR to admission to the military have?

    To what lengths will they go to save a buck?

    We're all on the road to perfection. Some are further along on the trip, some headed in the wrong direction.

    by shpilk on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:45:46 PM PDT

    •  I have a question for you: (4+ / 0-)

      The active duty military are being discharged following a psychiatric elvalution.  From what we have gathered, the psychiatrists doing the exams are committing gross acts of medical malpractice.  While they may be suit-proof because they ar working for VA, their licenses to practice are vulnerable.

      The question:  know any good medical malpractice attorney's ready to go after some skanky pseudo-shrinks?

      Attn: James Nicholson is still Sec. of VA. There is no excuse for that. Thankyouverymuch

      by llbear on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 09:05:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can they, though? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snacksandpop, ladybug53, llbear

        How does one challenge malpractice from within the military? Aren't they protected from civilian courts?  

        We're all on the road to perfection. Some are further along on the trip, some headed in the wrong direction.

        by shpilk on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 09:20:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are protected from individual lawsuits (3+ / 0-)

          But their license to practice can be challanged and revoked.  These shrinks are being screened for their belief in PTSD [denial is all the rage on the far right], their willingness to believe that the military experience "can awaken a pre-existing condition", and that the VA in general is socialized medicine [read: an unwarrented give away of government funds].  According to one person I know and have known for a long time, the screeners [who aren't shrinks] are none too subtle about what they are doing.

          Attn: James Nicholson is still Sec. of VA. There is no excuse for that. Thankyouverymuch

          by llbear on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 10:01:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Something new for the chimp (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, snacksandpop, ladybug53, llbear

    to act suprised and shocked about.  Absolutely horrendous, throwaway soldiers.  What'll they think of next?

    What, impeach us, you silly little democrats? Who ever heard of such nonsense? Now run along and buy us more guns...

    by jhop7 on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:51:45 PM PDT

  •  Too bad they didn't give Bush a test (7+ / 0-)

    before he was given a job as Commander in Chief  and President. Democracy should apply equally.

    Oh that we had the gift to see ourselves as others see us. Robbie Burns

    by ohcanada on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:52:46 PM PDT

    •  That's right (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, snacksandpop, ohcanada, llbear

      Why is W still getting medical benefits?

      Gonzo, GonzoGate I like to read bout GonzoGate! (sung to Macho Macho Man)

      by deepsouthdoug on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:55:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Come to think of it... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, snacksandpop, ohcanada, llbear

      ...it's pissed me off really bad for a long time that my money is going to be paying GWB's presidential-retirement-and-protection income for the rest of his stunted ugly life - instead of, say, for my Vietnam-vet brother's health care. This is just the ticket, though, isn't it? Nine out of ten doctors agree the man is a fucking nest of personality disorders (and the tenth one is Bill Frist), so I think he should be dropped from the gravy train at 12:01AM,  Jan 21, 2009.

      He can panhandle off his friends, if he has any left.

  •  Beneath contempt! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, snacksandpop, ladybug53, llbear

    Absolutely...ask any therapist!

    •  What is a Personality disorder? (5+ / 0-)

      A personality disorder is identified

      by a pervasive pattern of experience and behavior that is abnormal with respect to any two of the following:

      thinking, mood, personal relations,

      and the control of impulses.

      The character of a person is shown through his or her personality -- by the way an individual thinks, feels, and behaves.  When the behavior is inflexible, maladaptive, and antisocial, then that individual is diagnosed with a personality disorder.

      Most personality disorders begin as problems in personal development and character which peak during adolescence and then are defined as personality disorders.

      Personality disorders are not illnesses in a strict sense as they do not disrupt emotional, intellectual, or perceptual functioning.  However, those with personality disorders suffer a life that is not positive, proactive, or fulfilling.  Not surprisingly, personality disorders are also  associated with failures to reach potential.

      The DSM-IV-TR: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, defines a personality disorder as an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectation of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.

      Currently, there are 10 distinct personality disorders identified in the DSM-IV:

      Antisocial Personality Disorder:  Lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the local culture, marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules.  Sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths.

      Avoidant Personality Disorder:  Marked social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and extremely sensitive to criticism.

      Borderline Personality Disorder:  Lack of one's own identity, with rapid changes in mood, intense unstable interpersonal relationships, marked impulsively, instability in affect and in self image.

      Dependent Personality Disorder:  Extreme need of other people, to a point where the person is unable to make any decisions or take an independent stand on his or her own. Fear of separation and submissive behavior. Marked lack of decisiveness and self-confidence.

      Histrionic Personality Disorder:  Exaggerated and often inappropriate displays of emotional reactions, approaching theatricality, in everyday behavior. Sudden and rapidly shifting emotion expressions.

      Narcissistic Personality Disorder:  Behavior or a fantasy of grandiosity, a lack of empathy, a need to be admired by others, an inability to see the viewpoints of others, and hypersensitive to the opinions of others.

      Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder:  Characterized by perfectionism and inflexibility; preoccupation with uncontrollable patterns of thought and action.

      Paranoid Personality Disorder:  Marked distrust of others, including the belief, without reason, that others are exploiting, harming, or trying to deceive him or her; lack of trust; belief of others' betrayal; belief in hidden meanings; unforgiving and grudge holding.

      Schizoid Personality Disorder:  Primarily characterized by a very limited range of emotion, both in expression of and experiencing; indifferent to social relationships.

      Schizotypal Personality Disorder:   Peculiarities of thinking, odd beliefs, and eccentricities of appearance,  behavior, interpersonal style, and thought (e.g., belief in psychic phenomena and having magical powers).

      •  Terrible stigma of such dx's, adds insult to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk

        injury.

        Another aspect of this travesty is that along with being denied benefits with a misdiagnosis of a personality disorder, the soldier now has a diagnosis with a stigma.

        People with such diagnoses may encounter difficulties and discrimination in employment-- and from insurance companies when they try to get health care benefits in the future.

        The potential ramifications of the damage of this criminal 'policy' are mind boggling.

        "Children in the U.S. are not only detained, but often... in facilities that routinely fail ... international and domestic standards." --Amnesty International

        by doinaheckuvanutjob on Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 12:33:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  one more clip from the article (9+ / 0-)

    PLEASE read The Nation article

    If there are dissatisfied soldiers, says Knorr, the Fort Carson official, "I'll bet not a single one of them has been diagnosed with conditions that are clear-cut and makes them medically unfit, like schizophrenia."

    Linda Mosier disputes that. When her son Chris left for Iraq in 2004, he was a "normal kid," she says, who'd call her long-­distance and joke about the strange food and expensive taxis overseas. When he returned home for Christmas 2005, "he wouldn't sit down for a meal with us. He just kept walking around. I took him to the department store for slacks, and he was inside rushing around saying, 'Let's go, let's go, let's go.' He wouldn't sleep, and the one time he did, he woke up screaming."

    Mosier told his mother of a breaking point in Iraq: a roadside bomb that blew up the truck in front of his. "He said his buddies were screaming. They were on fire," she says, her voice trailing off. "He was there at the end to pick up the hands and arms." After that Mosier started having delusions. Dr. Wexler of Fort Carson diagnosed personality disorder. Soon after, Mosier was discharged under Chapter 5-13.

    Mosier returned home, still plagued by visions. In October he put a note on the front door of their Des Moines, Iowa, home saying the Iraqis were after him and he had to protect the family, then shot himself.

    These dirty filthy bastards are trying to save money, and they are killing our soldiers.

    We're all on the road to perfection. Some are further along on the trip, some headed in the wrong direction.

    by shpilk on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 07:58:06 PM PDT

  •  Military selects defective recruits... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, snacksandpop, ladybug53, llbear

    and then refuses to assist them when their defects lead to injury.

    This is especially ironic because if anything the military should have been responsible for screening these pre-existing conditions.

    But, of course, they are doing just the opposite, as described in this diaryabout lowing the standards for recruits.

  •  Great catch (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, ladybug53, llbear

    The idea that commanders are doing this to get rid of guys they DON'T want in the unit on redeployment is even sicker.  Recommended. i

    We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

    by Mary Julia on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 08:07:06 PM PDT

  •  I don't understand what all the fuss is about. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, ladybug53, pico, llbear, FishOutofWater

    Everyone knows that mental illness--whether real or perceived--isn't real illness.

    "A triviality is a statement whose opposite is false; a great truth is one whose opposite is another great truth." -- Niels Bohr

    by Autarkh on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 08:07:17 PM PDT

  •  I "talked" to someone (7+ / 0-)

    on another forum who was going through this.
    I'm not sure he had much fight left in him so I hope this gets much press so victims of the policy will speak out and get what they deserve.

    The guy I talked to served 5 years and then stress got to him. They treated and dismissed him saying no benefits because it was a pre-existing disorder, borderline personality disorder.

    What? Had it gone into remission for 5 years? BPD doesn't have remissions. They let him serve and when he couldn't they were simply done with him.

    I doubt I convinced him to not give up but I hope the news of this will.

    It's a horrible shame. This is a policy to save money. Somebody set this as policy. Over 22,000 is not by chance.

  •  We need to send this (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, snacksandpop, ladybug53, llbear, marykk

    article to Webb,Kerry,Conyers,Waxman and anyone else we think might jump on this quick!

    (-7.50 -6.31) "Bush vows to de-fund troops in the field"-dday

    by arkdem on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 08:32:57 PM PDT

  •  Everyone should pay attention to this. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, snacksandpop, ladybug53, llbear

    If this is happening to veterans, you can bet it will be happening in the larger population as well through social security disability.  Its already almost impossible to collect benefits....more of this administration in office filling up more posts and this will be commonplace.

    •  Don't give them any ideas (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snacksandpop, llbear

      Last I heard 'personality disorder' didn't disqualify anyone from getting SSI.

      But they'll find a way, I'm certain of it. Perhaps the first indication that one has a problem is the choice of a blue instead of red ballot at the polling place, eh?

      We're all on the road to perfection. Some are further along on the trip, some headed in the wrong direction.

      by shpilk on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 09:32:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ilona has written about this (5+ / 0-)

    at ptsdcombat, her blog and it is worth exploring.

    Vital to anyone with a Combat Veteran is her book, Moving A Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops .

                                title=

    But you are so right about this:  

    22,500 soldiers diagnosed as having 'personality disorders' in the last 6 years is big, really big. This story is going to hit the media like tsunami: If the Walter Reed story primed the fire, this story is going to pour gasoline all over it.

    These practices are beneath contempt. Those who perpetrate them, encourage them or attempt to obfuscate the facts about them need to be routed out and held to account.

    All personality discharges - every one of them - will be challenged in court if there is not a do-over.  I can't wait for the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committee to rip this apart.

    Thanks for the diary:

                                     title=

    Now, let's get this started.

    Attn: James Nicholson is still Sec. of VA. There is no excuse for that. Thankyouverymuch

    by llbear on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 08:59:09 PM PDT

  •  Note the role of the medical corps. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, snacksandpop, ladybug53, llbear

    The diagnosis of  personality disorder and/or urging to accept a 5-13 discharge was done by mental health specialists.  I note, with interest, that the doctors described in the article are psychologists, not psychiatrists.  I cannot tell if these are Ph.D psychologists or master's degree psychologists. (Master's degree psychologists have significantly less training)  

    I do not, however, see any evidence that the diagnosis was reviewed by mental health specialists who were outside the medical corps, and therefore free of command pressure.

    Having worked as a civilian contractor in Army and Navy hospitals I can say without equivocation that it is (almost) impossible to resist the medical commander's expectations, stated or implied.  It probably is impossible to resist pressure to diagnose/treat in a certain way if you are a lesser trained professional (master's degree psychologist, say) commanded by a psychiatrist or Ph.D psychologist.  

    Diagnosing personality disorder after a significant life stress is very tricky.  At the very least these diagnoses should be reviewed by an experienced clinician with advanced training.  In the services they should be reviewed by someone whose career does not depend on pleasing base command.

    The role of medical professionals at Abu Ghraib shows clearly that professional training is often insufficient armor to resist unethical professional behavior when such behavior is ordered by commanders.

    It is far better to be thought a fool than to invade Iraq and remove all doubt.

    by clio on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 09:14:41 PM PDT

    •  excellent perspective on this issue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snacksandpop, ladybug53, llbear

      thanks ..

      We're all on the road to perfection. Some are further along on the trip, some headed in the wrong direction.

      by shpilk on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 09:18:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I especially appreciate diaries written by those (0+ / 0-)

        of us not identified as part of the "Veteran's clic".  I guess for me it's, "If you really care about the military, do some research and write about it."  Thanks - means a lot to all of us.

        Take a quick trip to Australia for a success story on the teatment of PTSD.

        And if that wets your whistle, here is the sine quo non for PTSD treatment, IMHO

        Attn: James Nicholson is still Sec. of VA. There is no excuse for that. Thankyouverymuch

        by llbear on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 11:54:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  my uncle served in Korea, and cousins (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          llbear

          friends of the family served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq91, and now.

          No immediate member of the family is serving, but don't we all know someone that served at one point or another?

          I'm very radical, on the political compass I'm almost at - 10, - 10 but that doesn't mean my ideals get in the way of reality.

          People serve, relatives or friends, or not. They are entitled to respect, dignity and fair play, even if they don't happen to necessarily have views I agree with on every issue.

          It's just outrageous that people who are asked to give up everything are treated so badly.

          •  In my opinion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shpilk

            This is a cornerstone of democracy:

            People serve, relatives or friends, or not. They are entitled to respect, dignity and fair play, even if they don't happen to necessarily have views I agree with on every issue.

            It's just outrageous that people who are asked to give up everything are treated so badly.

            I think the founding fathers of this country would agree:  You get it.  The right wingers, and many who visit this site don't [including the guy who collects the tolls for cruising this intellectual highway].

            Attn: James Nicholson is still Sec. of VA. There is no excuse for that. Thankyouverymuch

            by llbear on Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 12:04:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Another Interview.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk

    Here and Now-NPR

    Story aired: Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Listen to Report

    We speak to Joshua Kors who writes in the current edition of the The Nation about Army Specialist Jon Town. Town was injured in Iraq and returned home to be told he was no longer "combat-ready" and was diagnosed with "personality disorder." To Town's shock, this meant he would no longer receive disability and medical benefits from the Army and the VA.

    The Failed Policies will Haunt Us and the World for Decades

    by jimstaro on Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 01:56:47 AM PDT

  •  Unbelievable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk

    his hearing loss!!?? Of course there's nothing new under the sun.  It reminded me, sadly, of this classic Mike Royko column from 1973. Different era, same game.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 04:37:25 AM PDT

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