Iraq veteran accuses VA of downgrading brain injuries

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An Iraq war veteran is asking federal lawmakers to investigate whether the VA Medical Center at Fort Harrison is systematically downgrading diagnoses of traumatic brain injuries to post-traumatic stress disorder to cut treatment costs.

The Missoulian reports Army Capt. Charles Gatlin and wife Ariana Del Negro filed a grievance against a psychologist at the VA center. They also testified before a U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee investigation panel last month.

The VA Montana Health Care System denies the claims, saying it has providers who are highly trained in the complexities of traumatic brain injuries.

Gatlin was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after an explosion while he was on patrol in Kirkuk in 2006. The VA psychologist in 2011 suggested PTSD was at the root of Gatlin's cognitive problems.