Velandy Manohar, MD
Distinguished Life Fellow, APA
01 11 16
C.V. Section 7 Health Concerns of Active Duty Service Members and Veterans:
Section 7 A
Study of Health issues of veterans, plan, promote and provide services to Veteran. I provide direct care and participate in advocacy role. My advocacy efforts this year, culmination of my efforts research and document health issues from 2008 and participation in two Stand down Events at the Rocky hill, CT State VA Hospital in addition to intense lobbying efforts. This research and advocacy lead to the convening of a Congressional hearing by the Chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs Hon. Rep. R.E. Filner in Washington DC on Sept 15th on the abuses of the troops and their families perpetrated apparently by the some of very people within the Health care system that we entrusted with their treatment after they returned from the war zones.
Section 7 B
My earliest work on behalf of the Veterans was to fight for the change in the VA regs about the use of the educational benefits of the GI Bill after a 10 year limit if the delay in accessing these benefits was the result of Alcohol dependence which was classified as “willful misconduct”
This was followed by successful efforts thanks to work of key members of the CT congressional delegation to get official recognition and help for service members affected by Agent Orange and later the Gulf War Syndrome. I feel vindicated by recent reports on the Gulf War.
Dr. Velandy Manohar, AMA Member
Monday, June 17, 2013
AMA Morning News:
Researchers find biological evidence of Gulf War illness.
The New York Times (6/15, Dao, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) reported that in the “two decades since the 1991 Persian Gulf war, medical researchers have struggled to explain a mysterious amalgam of problems in thousands of gulf war veterans, including joint pain, physical malaise and gastrointestinal disorders. In some medical circles, the symptoms were thought to be psychological, the result of combat stress. But recent research is bolstering the view” that the symptoms of Gulf War illness “are fundamentally biological in nature.”
More recently over the last two years since 2009 I have been working on these areas:
Resumption by the President of the practice of sending Condolence letters to service members and veterans who died by their own which was stopped in 2009. The APA strongly supports this and very recently six senators have requested the President to resume the time honored practice of sending letters to families of service members who died in the cause of freedom whether it was due to invisible wounds of war or on the battlefield with IED or bullet wound. I don’t know if President Obama has done this.
Health care challenges: The Opinion of the Ninth Circuit court of appeals documents the terrible toll being paid by our Veterans due to according to Court-“unchecked incompetence”
The Sexual assault/rape crisis: I have been in touch with Service Womens Action Network (SWAN) and members of the military on all of these matters. It is very important for the Senate to pass a Bill similar to HR 1540, National Defense Authorization Act this time around because there are specific protections within this Bill to safeguard the legal rights of Victims of Sex Assault and rape including confidentiality and access to appropriate and effective legal counsel in addition to expedited consideration of transfer from the site where the alleged stalking, sex assault or rape occurred under humanitarian considerations. I am so very thankful the HR 1540 was passed by the House with these protections. I have been trying to get political support since 2008-9 for exactly this kind of protections.
Service women are being sexually assaulted while they are seeking treatment at VA facilities. SWAN expressed its outrage over a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently that patients have been raped and sexually assaulted while seeking care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. The findings came as part of a GAO investigation of VA safety policies in five of the VA's 153 medical facilities. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs requested the report and has introduced H.R. 2074, a bill that would require the VA to track all sexual assaults and to closely examine veterans that may pose a risk of committing sexual assault. Whether or not our nation is at war, women and men in the armed forces will face the same threat from sexual predators in the ranks, until the military takes the necessary steps to reform: 1. Victims' rights and protections; 2. Commander accountability; and 3. The prosecution and court-martial systems.
Personality Disorder based discharges (2001-2007): The terrible problems faced by the 23,000 service members who were illegitimately dumped on the side of the road with NO Benefits on the cooked up diagnosis of Personality Disorder (Chapter 5-13 AR 635-200) I have submitted much material to the Committee that was offered as testimony at the time of the Sept 15, 2010 hearing. The Viet Nam Veterans of America have filed an FOIA suit in the New Haven Federal Court on behalf of SSGT Chuck Luther who was clearly suffering from Head injury and Depression when he was discharged under Chap 5-13, AR 635-200(Personality disorder) and dumped on the side of the road in Fort Hood in the rain to wait for his wife to give him a ride home. He was subject to torture and various methods of coercion to get him to sign the documents.
Major Malik Hasan. Months after the Senate Co-Chairs Hon. J. Lieberman and Hon. S. Collins released the report of their investigation into the auto-radicalization of the wanna be Jihadi the Doctors who fostered and promoted him despite clear cut indications: Power Point Presentations more than 1 on his Koran based justification of Jihad, e-mails explicitly discussing this matter with Imam Al Aulaki of AQAP have not been brought to account for their actions.. These included the Residency director Major Scott Moran and Director of Psychiatry at WRAMC Col John Bradley are still serving in the Military. There were others :Col. Benedek, Robert Ursano, Charles Engel all physicians in top administrative positions in WRAMC and USUHS Depts. of Psychiatry who collectively discussed a very alarming assessment of Dr. Scott Moran and even the risk of Major Hasan perpetrating fratricide. He did just that and his superiors have not been brought to account.
On 09 09 11 I participated as a member of the Community Health Center Team in providing assessment and intervention for the ailments of service members who visited the Stand Down Event at the Rocky Hill VA Hospital, Rocky Hill, CT. This year besides providing information and referral service my team of four post doctoral Psychology Fellows assessed service members who chose to do so on three scales Combat Exposure Scale( CES), Patient health Questionnaire (PHQ-2 and 9) and the PTSD Check List for the Military (PCL-M). I had arranged at the outset with the Ambulance and EMT’s at the site to be on stand by should the need arise to transport some to an Emergency room at a nearby hospital. I had also arranged as in the past to provide a “warm hand off” link to a staff member of the Military Support Program (MSP) on site. This time both the MSP and Veterans Health System representatives were in a tent, practically cheek by jowl to the CHC tent and the basic Medical assessment and the First Aid Tents were close at hand as well. We had the opportunity and need to link the service members who came to interact with my team to these committed and capable care givers. A social worker who works with me at CHC also works in the MSP."
I am very gratified for the sake of the service members and their families and feel personally vindicated that the current US Army Surgeon General LTG Patricia Horoho (who is a Nurse by profession) has requested the OIG of the DOD to assess the operations of the Army MH system. I personally asked the DOD Inspector General to conduct an investigation in 2010 of the actions of the MH staff of the Army at the same time I was successfully persuading Hon. Rep Bob Filner-D, California) then Chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to conduct the second hearing on Personality Disorder discharges. I was able to bring up key issues to the Attention of Gen Chiarelli at the APA Forum 05 at Annual meeting In Philadelphia, PA on May 05 2012. I am in the Video tape for the session. The Fox affiliate Channel 29 in Philadelphia reporter interviewed me on Camera after the session.