Redding Veteran Continues Health Care Fight; Guarantees Sought for Private Care for PTSD Teatment

Jim Schultz | Redding | April 5, 2012

A north state veterans advocate is trying to enlist the help of the chairwoman of the U.S. Senate's veterans affairs committee to permanently block any future effort that would change the way hundreds of area veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are treated at the Redding VA outpatient clinic.

Barry R. Clausen of Redding, a Vietnam War veteran who is diagnosed with PTSD, recently delivered about 100 letters from north state veterans to the office of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The letters complain about a now-abandoned plan that would have required up to about 300 veterans to stop seeing outside therapists and seek PTSD treatment from VA staffers.

The director of the VA Northern California Health Care System, Brian O'Neill, put the brakes on the plan last month after a standing-room-crowd at the VA outpatient clinic on Hartnell Avenue bitterly complained about it. Although O'Neill pledged there would be no change in the so-called fee-basis coverage for patients receiving mental health counseling services as long as he was in charge, Clausen said he wants a more permanent guarantee...