Medication for pain management and psychiatric care is essential for many troops transitioning out of service, but a new report from the Government Accountability Office found these individuals might not be getting the coverage they need quickly enough. Between 2009 and 2011, less than half of the 94,000 people who needed medication received care within nine months, according to Stars and Stripes.
The results are alarming for a number of reasons, but perhaps most significant is that troops separating from service are particularly vulnerable to mental health conditions or the misuse of pain medication. Not only that, with thousands of troops expected to separate over the next several years, getting soldiers the treatment they need is especially important.
"Medication management is critical to effective continuity of care for servicemembers transitioning out of the military," according to the report summary. "The Department of Defense's and VA's efforts may not help all servicemembers manage their medication needs during transitions of care."
The report also brings the importance of addressing mental health issues of veterans into focus. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, from 2000 to 2007, more than 206,000 veterans who entered the VA health system were diagnosed with depression.