The message, dated March 20 and titled “Suggestion,” said: “Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I’d like to suggest that we refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out. Consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder, R/O PTSD.” R/O stands for “rule out.”
“Additionally,” it said, “we really don’t or have time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD.”
A copy of the message was distributed on Thursday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, and by VoteVets.org, a lobbying group opposed to the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
In a statement, Dr. James B. Peake, the secretary of veterans affairs, called the suggestions “inappropriate.” The employee’s name was not released.
“We are committed to absolute accuracy in a diagnosis and unwavering in providing any and all earned benefits,” said Dr. Peake, a retired Army lieutenant general and surgeon. “P.T.S.D. and the mental health arena is no exception.”
A recent study
by the Rand
about one in
five troops with
service in Iraq
has symptoms of