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VA Doctor In Hot Water Over Stance On Stress Disorder

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WASHINGTON -- A Department of Veterans Affairs psychologist told senators Wednesday that cost cutting was not the reason she urged fellow clinicians at the Temple, Texas, Veterans Affairs hospital to "refrain from" diagnosing veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The doctor, Norma Perez, said her e-mail March 20 was only intended to remind colleagues that they had the option of initially diagnosing patients with a less severe condition known as "adjustment disorder."

Perez said she was concerned that veterans would get "conflicting messages" and varying diagnoses from the VA. Veterans who were told they have PTSD at one appointment -- but then later told they don't meet the clinical guidelines for that diagnosis when VA officials reviewed their eligibility for compensation -- have been "frustrated" and confused by the discrepancy, Perez said.


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