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
"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
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.