(Photo:Flickr/ The U.S. Army)

Amid concerns of the way its medical facilities are handling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other behavioral health evaluations, the Army on Wednesday launched a nationwide review of those facilities.

As The Washington Post reports, the Army has decided to review diagnoses and evaluations made at all of its medical facilities since 2001 due to concerns that some soldiers had their diagnoses reversed during subsequent evaluations at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state because of the costs of caring for them.

According to The Post, a PowerPoint presentation given to Lewis-McChord staff members noted the fact that every diagnosis of PTSD costs the military $1.5 million in health benefits and pension payments.

According to the statement released by the Army, the goal of the review is meant to identify and correct problems in the Army’s approach to behavioral health diagnoses and disability evaluations.

Along with an Army-wide review, Army leaders have also ordered an independent review by the service’s inspector general into “whether the disability evaluation system affects the behavioral health diagnoses given to soldiers and whether the command climate or other non-medical factors affect the diagnoses.” The Army auditor general has also been instructed to audit the Army Medical Command Ombudsman Program, which was set up to mediate for soldiers and family members after the poor conditions at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center came to light.

“The controversy stems from the work of a special forensic psychiatric team that in 2007 began evaluating mental health diagnoses of service members preparing to leave the military,” writes The Post. “The screening team reversed at least 290 PTSD diagnoses made by the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

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Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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