Colorado Sens. Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Tuesday to expand its investigation into mental health treatment for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The office should not just focus on Fort Carson, the senators said in a letter. In fact, Salazar and Allard praised the medical staff for their improvements at Fort Carson and urged the office to look to the Colorado base for best practices.
“The command staff at Fort Carson, for example, has implemented several key policies which may serve as models for PTSD, TBI [traumatic brain injury] and mental health treatment in the Department of Defense,” Salazar and Allard wrote. A group of nine other senators recently asked the GAO to investigate mental health services for veterans, and Colorado’s delegation are concerned Ft. Carson will be the only target.
“Focusing the investigation solely on a single installation, such as Fort. Carson, may result in the faulty perception that these challenges are confined to one installation,” they wrote.
Leadership at Fort Carson has been accused of failing to provide treatment – or even punishing – soldiers who have symptoms of PTSD. The military base has come under much media scrutiny, especially after NPR aired an investigative piece on the issue in December.