Effectiveness of PTSD Treatment Provided by Defense Department and VA Unknown; Tracking of Outcomes Needed to Manage Growing Burden

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PTSDWASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should track the outcomes of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) provided to service members and veterans and develop a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to do so, says a new congressionally mandated report from the Institute of Medicine. Without tracking outcomes, neither DOD nor VA knows whether it is providing effective or adequate PTSD care, for which they spent $294 million and more than $3 billion, respectively, in 2012. The report is the second of a two-phase assessment of PTSD services for service members and veterans and echoes the findings of the first report, issued in 2012.

An estimated 5 percent of all service members in the military health system have been diagnosed with PTSD, and the prevalence is 8 percent for those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the report notes. The number of veterans…

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