KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Experts Question Accuracy Of Fast-Growing Veterans’ PTSD Claims

The number of VA disability awards based on post traumatic stress disorder symptoms has grown fivefold over the past 13 years, and some mental health officials suggest that financial rewards may be causing some vets to exaggerate their conditions. Also, a New GAO report suggests changes in a Department of Defense health plan.

Los Angeles Times: As Disability Awards Grow, So Do Concerns With Veracity Of PTSD Claims
As disability awards for PTSD have grown nearly fivefold over the last 13 years, so have concerns that many veterans might be exaggerating or lying to win benefits. [Psychologist Robert] Moering, a former Marine, estimates that roughly half of the veterans he evaluates for the disorder exaggerate or fabricate symptoms. Depending on severity, veterans with PTSD can receive up to $3,000 a month tax-free, making the disorder the biggest contributor to the growth of a disability system in which payments have more than doubled to $49 billion since 2002 (Zarambo, 8/3).

The Fiscal Times: DOD's $1B Redundant Health Program: GAO Says Scrap It
The government spends about $1 billion every year on a health care program for military families that auditors say is redundant and should be scrapped. A new report from the Government Accountability Office says the U.S. Family Health Plan, which provides health care to at least 130,000 military family members and retirees, offers the same TRICARE Prime benefits that are offered by the regional TRICARE managed care support contractors. Created in 1982, The program—USFHP—is an association of six health care systems that provides TRICARE Prime benefits to military families (Ehley, 8/4).

NPR: Obama Moves To Overhaul VA With Compromise Measure
Two months after VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned, President Obama looks set to sign legislation to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs, to the tune of nearly $17 billion (8/3).

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