Professional News
AMA Gears Up for Report on Vets
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 14 page 5-5

APA's Section Council on Psychiatry has asked the AMA to convene an expert panel to review an anticipated report from a presidential commission on health care for veterans returning from combat. The section council also has asked the AMA to develop recommendations ensuring timely access to all necessary medical services, including mental health care, for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and for their families.

"We're all well aware that many men and women returning from active military duty have encountered difficulties obtaining comprehensive health care services," said section council member and APA Trustee David Fassler, M.D., who testified on the resolution, which was then passed at the June meeting of the AMA House of Delegates (see AMA Acts on Critical Psychiatry-Related Issues).

"As a physician practicing in Vermont, I'm particularly sensitive to the challenges faced by members of the National Guard and their families, especially in the more rural parts of our state," Fassler said." As a psychiatrist, I'm also well aware of the problems encountered with respect to mental health services, and as the resolution points out, recent reports have documented the high incidence of mental health problems in men and women returning from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The section council resolution asks the AMA to review existing data and information, including the Report of the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, which is expected to be released in July. "This is obviously a timely and important issue," Fassler said.

The resolution was widely supported by military and nonpsychiatric physicians. Following its vote, the house forwared the resolution to the AMA Board of Trustees, which is expected to act on the resolution prior to the interim meeting of the House of Delegates in November.

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