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American Legion Conducting New Survey on Veterans' PTSD, TBI Care

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The American Legion is conducting a new national survey of veterans and their families to assess the care they are receiving from the Veterans Affairs Department for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Louis Celli, director of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation for The American Legion, said the findings will provide the Legion's PTSD/TBI Committee with an understanding of veteran satisfaction with VA mental health care in time for the organization's national symposium on the issue later this year in Washington, DC.

"Veterans [will be] asked to identify treatment programs they are using and to rate quality, access and timeliness of care," Celli said.

The 59-question survey is the Legion's second dealing with TBI and PTSD. Last June its survey of 3,100 veterans found that 59 percent of respondents reported feeling no improvement or feeling worse after undergoing TBI and PTSD treatment.

It also found that 30 percent of respondents ended their treatment before it was completed.

"The last survey was definitely impactful and was referenced several times by Congress while introducing new legislation to improve PTSD programs," Celli said on Wednesday.

Celli also said that the Legion's 2014 findings that treatments were often ineffective are validated by a newly released study by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Legion's new survey, which may be accessed by veterans and their families through Aug. 16, are mostly multiple-choice and can be answered with a single click from a drop down menu.

"The survey focuses on veteran satisfaction and levels of perceived benefits with VA's PTSD/TBI programs, including alternative and complementary treatments," Celli said. All information obtained through it will remain confidential and used solely to better understand VA performance in PTSD and TBI care, he said.

No respondents' personal information will be used.

The survey questions include veteran status, gender, era of service, number of times deployed, diagnosis of TBI, PTSD and both, availability of appointments, time and distance to care facilities, treatment type (therapy, medication and complementary and alternative medicine), reported symptoms, efficacy of treatment and side effects.

-- Bryant Jordan can be reached at bryant.jordan@military.com.

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