VA Health Care: Status of VA's Approach in Conducting the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In addition to providing health care to over 5 million veterans each year, the Veterans Health Administration, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), funds research on specific health conditions that veterans may experience. One condition that is examined in VA-funded research is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person is exposed to a life-threatening event. According to VA, experts estimate that up to 30 percent of Vietnam veterans and up to 20 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom veterans and Operation ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 5, 2010.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In addition to providing health care to over 5 million veterans each year, the Veterans Health Administration, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), funds research on specific health conditions that veterans may experience. One condition that is examined in VA-funded research is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person is exposed to a life-threatening event. According to VA, experts estimate that up to 30 percent of Vietnam veterans and up to 20 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom veterans and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans have experienced PTSD. Veterans suffering from PTSD may experience problems sleeping, maintaining relationships, and returning to their previous civilian lives. Additionally, studies have shown that many veterans suffering from PTSD are more likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and other diseases. After the Vietnam War, Congress wanted information about the psychological effects of the war on Vietnam veterans to inform the need for PTSD services at VA. Consequently, in 1983, Congress mandated that VA provide for the conduct of a study on PTSD and related postwar psychological problems among Vietnam veterans. VA contracted with an external entity, the Research Triangle Institute, to conduct the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). This cross-sectional study determined the incidence and prevalence of PTSD among Vietnam veterans and Vietnam-era veterans. Under contact with VA, Research Triangle Institute researchers designed the study and analyzed the information collected for the study, which was initiated in 1984 and completed in 1988. Participants' identities were not provided to VA because of the Research Triangle Institute's concerns about Vietnam veterans' distrust of government agencies. According to VA, the NVVRS was a landmark study and is the only nationally representative study that focuses on PTSD in Vietnam veterans. The NVVRS data have since been used in other studies of PTSD. PTSD is an ongoing concern for Vietnam veterans, and today, Vietnam-era veterans still constitute the largest group of veterans receiving VA care for PTSD. Congress and others have been concerned about the continued prevalence of PTSD and VA's capacity to meet the needs of Vietnam veterans. In section 212 of the Veterans Benefits and Health Care Improvement Act of 2000, Congress required that VA contract with an appropriate entity to conduct a follow-up study to the NVVRS. In 2001, VA awarded another contract to the Research Triangle Institute to plan and conduct a follow-up study, the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study (NVVLS)."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 5, 2010

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. VA Health Care: Status of VA's Approach in Conducting the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study, text, May 5, 2010; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299728/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.