Laura Beil on PTSD and the Man Who Killed Chris Kyle

She comes to a tough conclusion about why some vets can't get help from the VA medical system.

Awhile back, we alerted you to the existence of an ebook by former Morning News health reporter Laura Beil about Eddie Routh. It’s about the man who killed Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. Accused. The man who stands accused of the murders. I guess we still have to keep saying that for now. Anyway, Men’s Health has just put online a shorter version of the story. You should read the whole thing, but here’s a taste:

Each day, 22 veterans take their own lives. But here is the paradox: The U.S. government is, in fact, pouring record funding into post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD — $423 million projected this year, up 36 percent just from 2009. To help explain why the system still fails a disturbing number of veterans, some experts offer an answer as unpopular as it is politically radioactive: Clinics are clogged with too many veterans who don’t need to be there and are siphoning resources from those like Eddie, who do.

… [Some] veterans may not have a motivation to get better because their income depends on being sick, says Michael Archuleta, M.D., J.D., a physician who now works as an attorney in Austin. … “When someone is being paid to have a disability, that disability is less likely to go away,” he says. He adds that the VA is striving to bring mental health care to every veteran who needs it, but when a system “incentivizes sickness,” as he calls it, the overload from veterans who should be getting better, or who shouldn’t be there at all, can place the entire operation at risk.

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