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Another outrage for vets

June 12, 2007

It may not be as dramatic as the mold-covered wall of a Walter Reed Army Hospital aftercare facility, but the latest news regarding returning veterans' treatment should outrage every American.

The Associated Press reported this week that returning soldiers are finding it difficult to get mental-health treatment, for two reasons.

The first is that there aren't enough military therapists. And waiting lists mean it can take months to get an appointment with one of them.

But the other and more horrible problem is that Tricare, the military health insurance program, has cut reimbursement rates to private therapists by 6.4 percent.

That in turn, according to AP, has cut the number of private providers who will accept Tricare.

Barbara Romberg, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area, told the AP that rather than deal with Tricare's rules and its poor rate of reimbursement, she's donating her time to returning veterans and has encouraged fellow providers to do the same.

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AP found that one-third of all veterans who return from combat seek mental-health treatment within a year.

What they need - and what American owes them - is professional help, not a stack of forms and procedural hassles.

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