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The Army and PTSD: Keeping Soldiers' Best Interests At Heart, Unless It Costs Money, But We Don't Want to Talk About It

by Abby Zimet

Calling the findings “pre-decisional,” the Army has denied multiple Freedom of Information Act requests from news organizations for the results of a months-long investigation into whether psychiatrists at a Washington state Army hospital reversed troubled veterans' PTSD diagnoses to save money. The probe was launched after a psychiatrist at Madigan Army Medical Center - the only Army hospital where a team of forensic psychiatrists vetted PTSD findings, a practice they've stopped - gave a lecture in which he warned against “rubber stamping” a  diagnosis that could give a soldier $1.5 million in disability payments over a lifetime. Veterans' advocates say the decision to keep the probe report confidential reflects a “shocking amount of tone deafness." During the investigation, soldiers from Madigan charged their PTSD diagnoses were overturned and they were found to be "malingering" after as little as a 10-minute interview - a decision they said was so stressful they'd rather be back in combat. Since then, many of the PTSD diagnoses overturned have been reinstated. That may or may not be enough: For the first time, soldier suicides now outstrip combat deaths.