Thursday, November 17, 2011

Court Takes Back Ruling On VA Mental Health

In May a three judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the VA to institute a
new mental health care program that would speed the appeal process for denied claims, and
provide more timely mental health care and ensure that suicidal veterans are seen immediately.

In its May ruling the court held that the VA takes an average of four years to provide complete
health care that veterans have earned. It also noted that often a suicidal veteran can wait weeks
for a first appointment.

The court ruled that the slow handling of PTSD and other mental health claims was unconstitutional.

On Wednesday the 2-1 ruling was overturned when a majority of the court's judges voted to
rehear the case. The case will now be heard by an 11 judge panel on yet to be decided date. 

Veterans have complained for a long time that the VA is just not taking proper care and is very slow
in the handling of claims. Many say that it takes years to get into the VA system and often
have to appeal a denied claim two or three times.

These men and women feel they are second class citizens and are treated with disdain and
by uncaring staff.

While it is know that the VA is working very hard to change the processes and hire more
health care workers, it is a slow process; and something must be done to make it easier and
quicker for claims to be processed, and the healing begun.

More Wounded Warriors are added to the role every day, even as the fighting in Iraq
and Afghanistan is winding down.

With the suicide rate of almost 18 veterans a day it is unjust, unfair and a blot on our
country's promise to our veterans; that anyone should have to wait that long for treatment.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996