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Report: VA provides veterans inconsistent depression treatment.

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides inconsistent treatment to veterans with depression and may also be underestimating the number of vets who suffer from the condition, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO--an independent, nonpartisan watchdog agency--analyzed VA data from 2009 through 2013 and found inconsistencies in how veterans were treated and how medical records were kept.

The report found that roughly 10 percent of the veterans who sought health care services through the VA were diagnosed with major depressive disorder, but the true number of depressed veterans could be even higher due to clerical errors in veterans' health care paperwork.

Coding errors were found in 11 of 30 individual cases that kept veterans from being flagged as having a major depressive disorder. And while a vast majority--94 percent--of those who were actually diagnosed with major depressive disorder were prescribed at least one antidepressant, almost none were treated in accordance with the VA's clinical guidelines or given instruction on how to properly administer their drugs.

The full report can be found at the GAO website, www.gao.gov/assets/670/666842.pdf.

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Title Annotation:NEWS for VETERANS
Publication:DAV Magazine
Article Type:Report
Date:Mar 1, 2015
Words:188
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