WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, held a hearing today on PTSD and other issues related to veterans' disability compensation. This was the third in a series of hearings held this year under the leadership of Chairman Akaka to review veterans' disability compensation.
"These are the experts who advised the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission," Chairman Akaka noted. "It is vital that we hear directly from them as we work on reform of the disability compensation system."
Among other topics, witnesses addressed concerns raised in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion column which asserted that compensating veterans for PTSD undermines recovery. To the contrary, Institute of Medicine expert witness Dr. Dean Kilpatrick stated that compensation for PTSD may lead to better treatment outcomes and CNA Corporation expert witness Dr. Joyce McMahon discussed research data finding almost no indication that compensation affected veterans' tendency to seek treatment.
"The experts testifying today were firm that withholding compensation as a means to encourage wellness is untested," Chairman Akaka said. "Disability compensation is the cornerstone of benefits provided to our nation's wounded warriors, and we cannot undertake changes lightly."
The witnesses at today's hearing represented the CNA Corporation and the Institute of Medicine, the two organizations that provided the bulk of the research used by the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission in their landmark October 2007 report.
For the full witness list and Chairman Akaka's opening statement, please click here: LINK
February 27, 2008