The way Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are diagnosed and treated is about to get a major overhaul. Or at least that is the hope as the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense announced they are investing more than $100 million in research to improve diagnosis and treatment of both maladies.
After some major drama and confusion within the Army channels where up to 40 percent of PTSD diagnosis were overturned, the DOD and VA have teamed up with a common goal to deliver improved diagnosis and quality of care.
That common goal comes at a price of $100 million…just in the research to improve the care. According to Defense News, “more than 15 percent of service members and veterans suffer impaired functioning as a result of PTSD.”
What does that work out to for each affected Veteran? If my calculations are correct, roughly $300 per veteran. Not bad in my opinion; but we’ve not yet talked about the cost of the actual care.
At the end of the day, can one really put a price on a potential cure that will improve the lives of those affected service members and their families after they’ve sacrificed so much?
Two groups, The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD and the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, will be jointly managed by VA, and by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, on behalf of the DOD. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson stated, “These consortia will bring together leading scientists and researchers devoted to the health and welfare of our nation’s service members and veterans.”
As a side note, this year alone, approximately 3,400 researchers will work on more than 2,300 projects with nearly $1.9 billion in funding.
Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.