Post deployment illness Gulf War

The ground war lasted four days and resulted in 147 battlefield deaths, but almost 199,000 of the 698,000 people who were deployed have since qualified for some degree of service-related disability. Of those, 13,317 people are disabled by "undiagnosed conditions"; Medically Unexplained Symptoms; Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (MUPS) or Unexplained Symptoms

Monday, October 19, 2009

Government adresses Gulf War Veterans - Desert Storm


When I went to Boston VAMC, MA in 1992 and the administration said they could not process a health exam because public law have not care for veterans of Operation Desert Sheild/Storm - it was new to the VA system and Congress need adjustment by the end user ie. "troop/patient".
Do you remember how the government had to be changed to address gulf war veterans ?
Convolution Main Entry: con·vo·lu·tion Pronunciation: "kän-v&-'lü-sh&n Function: noun 1: a complication or intricacy of form, design, or structure When Gulf War Illness became a issue in 1992, it was vague.
In 1992 a medical report about Navy Seabess was produced that drew questions about Gulf War veterans Illnesses. The Indiana outbreak investigated by WRAIR draws heat.
PL 102-585 passes. The Oil Well fires of Kuwait come into question, CHPPM is called in to provide a model to describe the fallout. Is reported to Congress.
The William Beaumont Army Medical Center decides stress is a factor in Gulf War veterans illness. 4 Gulf War Referral Centers are put in place around the country to assist in medical screenings, takes three years to implement. 1,120 Gulf War veterans have been medically screened for the pending Persian Gulf Registry.
In 1993 PL 103-210 is passed and Gulf War veterans were granted eligibility for health care within the VA for any illness possibly related to wartime service. 14,379 Gulf War vets in 1993 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
By 1994 it started to take form as the Senate explored classified materials released. But, it was still a Congressional issue. There is a call for external reviews of Gulf War medical information.
GAO was consulted to follow under Congressional request, but had no executive authority or privledge in its involvement.
The beginnings of a military Research Working Group, the Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board began 1995 with a limited working plan for the future.
VA sets up its VA Persian Gulf Expert Scientific Committee. Also Independent medical research begins.
PL 103-446 is passed, service connection for Gulf War Illness is Posisble. But, its written to thinly, and veterans slip through the cracks.
26,620 Gulf War vets in 1994 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
In 1995 a Toll Free reporting line is in place.
DOD has begun declassifying 25,000,000 military records for key medical words, and converts these materials to electronic format.
PGIT hands off to the DOD oversight panel which begins transferring 6,000,000 relevant files to a central archive. Plans are made to transfer to the forming OSAGWI to regulate the distribution of that information via Gulflink.osd.mil. PGIT coordinates with DIA, CIA, VA, and others over shadowing Gulf War medical data.
Birmingham Alabama VAMC is the last to open its Gulf War Referral center.
15,377 Gulf War vets in 1995 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
In 1996 Gulf war Illness became Executive Authority as the Whitehouse itself mandated a request for answers. The PAC, OSAGWI, and other entities sprang to life to run interference to the information that was about to be distributed. Other than the Persian Gulf Registry, and CCEP, little else was in place. Research was picking up speed.
Peer Review takes on a new meaning as it becomes a method for filtering DOD/VA medical information carefully before disclosure.
PL 104-262 passes. Extends presumption for service connection of undianosed illnesses. 7,028 Gulf War vets in 1996 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
In 1997 the IOM became a more active player, as did the CDC and other agencies. GAO had a limited roll. At this point Congressional mandates were coming more into play. Congressional Oversight took a strong roll in governing activities.
The entitiy called the Research Working Group worked in the background trying to regulate much medical information at that time. But they had a public working plan in place. i.e. Cause, Symptoms, and Non-Specific Symptoms.

OSAGWI holds Town Hall meetings with vets around US, met with hositlity and loathing. IOM stipulates that DOD should explore Stress as a cause of illness. 74,594 Total PGR exams. 20,000 have now participated in CCEP. However, veterans are not making it to Phase II exams of a three part PGR Phase exam system.
GIS begins to pick up speed. 9,907 Gulf War vets in 1997 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry ,by 1998 the a long list of agencies are now involved.
NHRC, NRMC,
NAS, HHS, NIH, IOM, CDC,
HA, OSAGWI, MHVCB, VA, RAND, SAIC,
AFIP, WRAMC, WRAIR, and others.
However, the term somatoform becomes DOD choice word for dealing with Gulf War Illness.
PL 105-277 and PL 105-368 are passed, and with it the supposed formation of a independent research program with a National Study Center.
IOM is given autonomy over the Gulf War investigation, and VA expands it part in Gulf War medical research.
WRAIR position tales a back seat with the decline of the CCEP program. 5,080 Gulf War vets in 1998 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
In 1999 PSOB became the final Executive Authority Oversight out in place to regulate OSAGWI. Unfortunately, its DOD ringers who whitewash the issue. Recommendations are made from its findings to widen the scope of Gulf War Illness to all Deployments.
OSAGWI prepares to closed its doors. CDC has public conference in Atlanta to talk with veterans on medical planning.
MHVCB makes it recommendations of support as it host annual public DOD medical conferences with the help of the SAIC. VA, DOD, and HHS spend $134 million over the last six years on 145 federal research projects related to Gulf War illness.
Jan 1,1999 deadline for formation of RAC passes by, acting Sec of VA Togo West ignores PL 105-368. 3,395 Gulf War vets in 1999 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
In 2000 comes the closing of the CCEP program, soon to be replaced by WRAIR CPG. OSAGWI becomes OSAGWI-MRMD, then plans to merge with Tricare to become DHSD.
WRAIR developes DHCC to replace its defunct GWRC program. Gulf War Referral Centers are targeted for closure. Investigation into the possible causes of Gulf War Illness from specifc incidence is concluded.
PSOB makes its recommendations as it pushes Millinium Cohort Study of Gulf War veterans. VA stalls on the implementation of PL 105-368, RAC and WRIISC wait in limbo. 3,084 Gulf War vets in 2000 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
In 2001 starts transition to Deployment Health. Under the guise of Force Health Protection the Gulf War Illness issues takes back seat to protecting the military in general. IOM starts producing its more negative reports, being vague in its associations.
The term Undiagnosed Illness takes front seat as PL 107-103 passes. The condition ALS surfaces in Gulf War Illnesses. Formation of RAC and WRIISC finally announced. 2,534 Gulf War vets in 2001 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
In 2002 MHVCB is disbanded. Military begins gearing up for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
DHSD begins its transition to Tricare. Both VA / DOD now only meet with NSO's in private, last of meetings with Gulf War Veterans.
IOM now meets in private on Gulf War Illness. RAC holds meetings, but limits outside involvement. VA RWG has no external sources of information.

Legacy personnel from OSAGWI, MHVCB, SAIC, RAND, WRAMC takes up positions in all Government levels involved in Gulf War Illness.
Persian Gulf Coordinators are phased out of VA, replaced with Enviromental Health Agents. No longer have exclusive offices.
VA Form 10-9009a is taken down off net, as is old VA Persian Gulf Coordinators list. 2,188 Gulf War vets in 2002 participate in the Persian Gulf Registry.
In 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom underway. Gulf War I now pushed firmly to the back as troops start returning from March 2003 deployment without correct pre-post deployment screenings.
Sec of VA Principi calls for medical monitoring of Iraqi Freedom troops. PTSD takes front stage, undiagnosed Illness moves to back.
Persian Gulf Registry becomes Gulf War Registry. 2,464 Gulf War vets in 2003 participate in the Gulf War Registry. 119 of these are Operation Iraqi Freedom troops.
In 2004 the RAC and IOM work closely with the VA RWG. Otherwise what remains of DHSD, and other agencies begin deferring to MOMRP.
FHP concentrates of PTSD, and pushes Gulf War further to the back. There is a complete break down of outside involvement of Gulf War vets from activity in Washington DC. Disease outbreaks and health issues of Iraqi Freedom take front stage.
Spouse and Children GWR exams are being phased out. 1,811 Gulf War vets in 2004 participate in the Gulf War Registry. 1,543 Iraqi Freedom vets in 2004 participate in the Gulf War Registry. 3,354 Total vets in 2004 participate in the Gulf War Registry.
In 2005, the RAC and IOM still work closely with the VA RWG.
DHSD makes public commentary about Gulf War Illness, and at the IOM meetings - but ends Public Relations with veterans entriely.
Congressionally funded Gulf War Research programs run out, NSO's earmark Defense Appropriations Bill for $10 million of $40 million MOMRP ( Ft. Deitrick ) for Gulf War. MOMRP and VA become soul heirs of Gulf War research.
Spouse and Children GWR exams program finally scrapped by VA EA.

832 Gulf War vets in 2005 participate in the Gulf War Registry.
1,286 Iraqi Freedom vets in 2005 participate in the Gulf War Registry.
2,118 Total vets in 2005 participate in the Gulf War Registry.
In 2006 far VA and DOD MOMRP are all thats left in the realm in the realm of Gulf War Illness research. VA is a closed loop system that does not approve independent IRG grants, and MOMRP ( Ft. Deitrick )hasnt gotten the $10 million allocation from the Defense Appropriations Bill to offer grants. So MOMRP is closing the door on the last of the Congressionally mandated Gulf War Research programs without a large governing force in place.
Meaning, without a something like a public planning board - the funds will more than likely go to OIF or FHP type projects. MOMRP and FHP meet in two weeks to discuss the 2006 -2007 research agendas. This is not a public meeting.
End of 2006 the Gulf War Registry has produced 98,813 registry exams. Only 6.7% ever made it to Phase II exams. Meaning that 92.3% of Gulf War veterans in the PGR program have had phase I visual observation exams. Also, 5,246 had Phase I followup exams. Thats 5.3% of the total seen from October 3rd 2005 back to 1990.
24.51% of the Gulf War Registry data has been collected from 1998 to 2007. This is a critical program in Gulf war medical research since it does not require Service Connection. Any Gulf War veteran can walk in for a free Gulf War registry exam that can be added to the database. If onl;y the program worked, and as it was intended.

This is the only peice of the Gulf War Program in place today that is 16 years old, and still collecting information on us in a evolving database that might one day explain some our conditions. But, it needs our help as it has fallen apart under the current administration.
Granted the RAC is in place, but the RAC does not confer with outside sources on its agenda. So far VA, Government Reform, MOMRP, and others are referring back to the Binns committee as setting the agenda for the funds.
In Oct 2009 the VA Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans end its meetings and wrote a final report with as little public notice as possble.
source: Desert storm Battle Registry

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