DOD Health Care: Mental Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Screening Efforts Implemented, but Consistent Pre-Deployment Medical Record Review Policies Needed
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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DOD has taken steps to implement mental health standards for deployment and screen service members for mental health conditions prior to deployment, but policies for providers to review medical records are inconsistent. To meet the requirements related to deployment mental health standards and screening, DOD issued a November 2006 policy to establish and implement minimum mental health standards for deployment. The policy identified the pre-deployment health assessment as a mechanism for screening service members for mental health conditions and for ensuring that the standards are utilized in making deployment determinations. The policy also required a review of service member medical records as part of this assessment. Such a review serves to validate information service members disclose about their mental health. However, DODs August 2006 Instruction on Deployment Health DoDI 6490.03, which implements policy and prescribes procedures for deployment health activities, is silent on whether a review of medical records is required as part of the pre-deployment health assessment. During our site visits to three installations, we found that health care providers were unaware that a medical record review was required, and medical records were not always reviewed by providers conducting the pre-deployment health assessment. Because of DODs inconsistent policies, providers determining if OEF and OIF service members meet DODs minimum mental health standards for deployment may not have complete medical information.
- Medicine and Medical Research