Nursing Voices

Friday, July 13, 2007

When HMOs Meet GI Joe

I saw a news story that made my stomach turn. Bob Woodruff reports that more than 22,000 Iraq war veterans are being discharged from military service due to a “pre-existing” personality disorder. Why are our war heroes being branded with this diagnosis? It’s simple. Our government has found a way to deny mental health benefits to veterans who are suffering from mental health disorders related to their time in Iraq.

HMOs have been playing this game with patients for a long time. It's the game of “Plausible Denial.” I’ve seen insurance companies cook up all kinds of reasons to deny people mental health care services. I once cared for a woman who wanted to kill herself by jumping in front of a train. She was serious, but since a train couldn’t possibly come through our hospital unit, her insurance company said that the patient was no longer an imminent risk to herself, so they refused to pay for her hospitalization. Now the military has adopted the same HMO mindset, and is screwing over our service men and women who are coming home from Iraq. Please read Bob Woodruff’s story about our government’s latest shenanigans, and then write a letter to your member of Congress. Tell them to court marshal the people who came up with this bright idea. I’m sure whoever came up with this plan will have a bright future with an HMO one day whenever they leave military service.


Blogger poody said...

sadly this does not surprise me the VA has been shuffling these guys around for years first with the vietnam vets, then the gulf war dudes ,and now these foellows. Disgusting but true very true.

1:47 PM  
Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

Very depressing. I've been hearing about reservists getting shafted on medical care for some years now. The cancer is spreading....

And this is an administration that claims to be pro-military!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

This sort of thing is a reflection on how some can think.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Nurse Stella said...

Some of my HH patients are vets. The VA tells us how well they take care of them, but try getting pain meds for a hospice pt with bone cancer, or oxygen for a COPD'er. It can take weeks. And now, they're taking such poor care of the guys and gals with head injuries from Iraq. I say "hats off" to Bob Wooddruff for bringing all this to public attention.

4:17 PM  
Blogger rlbates said...

My first thought was, "Then why did you take them as soldiers in the first place?" Very sad indeed.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

They did that to my father! He has BAD PTSD from VietNam, but they tried to write him off as having underlying BPD. How many people with BPD hit the deck when they hear a helicopter? After years of evals and counseling, as well as several letters from me describing what it was like growing up in that household, they finally gave him that diagnosis of PTSD and covered him fully. About damn time!

6:31 PM  
Blogger BellaLinda said...

I can't answer for the VA, but active duty military health care is now administered by HMOs. Tricare is the military's own personal HMO, and it is administered by several different civilian HMOs, depending on where in the country you are. (I believe Tricare MidAtlantic is administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but I'm not 100% sure.)

If you talk to anyone who's been on the receiving end of military health care, you'll find it takes a lot to surprise us. You can only expect so much from the lowest bidder.

4:30 PM  
Blogger TC said...

It is really a shame, we ask these men and women to give so much and then they're dropped when they suffer the repercusions of being in a war zone.

BTW, I saw part of "Cuckoo's Nest" tonight and Nurse Ratched, aside from being played by a good actress, was also advocating for her patient(Jack Nicholson). I had no idea. I guess I was really yound when I saw it and only focused on how cranky she was. Course, I might be cranky too if my hair was curled that tight.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Terry @ Counting Sheep said...

This is appalling!

4:26 AM  
Blogger Student Nurse Jack said...

I believe that the military is also moving to classify homosexuality as a personality disorder. How convenient.

With the difficulty in recruiting I'm hearing about, why does it make sense to get rid of this many people you've already recruited, and trained?

This administration makes me sick.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Amrita said...

glad you have these provisions in your country. people here have to fend for for themselves

10:45 PM  
Anonymous gypsygrrl said...

i had lunch with a good friend, and former Marine, who has PTSD in the form of wicked nightmares. i asked him if they were taking care of him - and told him of this article. he said its very true, sadly, but thankfully they cant pin the BPD on him.

i swear, take more taxes out of my check, give these men and women who do what i cannot do, the care they need and rightly earned.

god bless our military. i hope they know how much those who appreciate them DO, and dont focus on how poorly we care for them after they serve our country.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is unbelievable that we have allowed insurance company's so much power. My insurance company had the audacity to start recommending treatments (neurosurgery) for my treatment resitant Major Depressive Disorder and to ask him to send them a copy of all his notes...this after me spending months paranoid, locked up in my house that I was being spied on by said company. How am I supposed to get well when I can't speak openly to my psychiatrist about my job, my insurance fears etc. My psych wants me to go to the hospital, but what if they diagnose me differently or aren't my advocate like my own pschiatrist is for me. They get around all this by saying I have given "informed consent"...basically I've been informed my insurance will be cut off if I don't sign saying all my psychioatrist's notes can be seen by much for psychiatric confidentiality.

1:31 AM  

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