Mind Game III - Full Metal Lockout: The Myth of Accessible Health Care
Published: Monday October 30, 2006
(Continued from Mind Games Part I: The Things They Carry and Mind Games Part II: To Hell and Back: Spinning the Downward Spiral)
If you were thinking of enlisting in the military and you read the press releases from the DOD and VA public relations machine, you'd think that signing up would make you part of a body of men and women who were the nation's greatest asset -- a corps that would enjoy every possible means of care at all stages of their professional and personal lives.
You'd go to the DOD's fancy Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) web site and cling to the promise that its resources are devoted to "fostering a trusting partnership between military men and women, veterans, their families, and their healthcare providers to ensure the highest quality care for those who make sacrifices in the world's most hazardous workplace."
The site would assure you that all returning service members "receive a face-to-face health assessment" by a trained health care provider that includes an in-depth review of "each service member's current health, mental health or psychosocial issues commonly associated with deployments, special medications taken during the deployment, and possible deployment-related occupational/environmental exposures."
And who could blame you for feeling reassured? It's a level of medical attention and care that anyone would envy -- if, in fact, anyone were getting it at all.
"I don't believe that the DOD is having face-to-face screenings," says Paul Sullivan, Director of Programs at Veterans for America (VFA). "I have spoken with countless veterans who have advised me that at most they fill out the form, and many don't even do that."
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