To date, VA has failed to develop a single proven effective treatment for Gulf War Illness, which VA does not even believe is a unique condition, instead lumping the toxin-generated neurological disease in with every other "chronic multisymptom illness".
This is just the latest in VA's foot-dragging for Gulf War veterans, who have a 20-year history of VA mistaking motion for progress.
Last June, the Congressionally chartered VA advisory panel responsible for overseeing the federal government's Gulf War Illness research efforts and judging them based on a treatment standard blasted VA with a unanimous finding of "no confidence in the ability or demonstrated intention of VA staff to formulate and execute an effective VA Gulf War illness research program.” VA has yet to fix the many serious issues identified in this report, including the whitewashing of this first ever Gulf war Illness Strategic Plan that VA staff even took GWI out of the plan's title.
Instead of fixing these serious issues, VA Secretary Shinseki instead signed a VA-staff generated revision to the RAC's charter retaliating rather than fixing these serious issues. The revisions include an array of changes that include removing entire paragraphs requiring all VA treatment focus in VA medical research and any intention of improving Gulf War veterans' health and lives, fire the RAC Chairman (with a "transition" period) and half the RAC staff (this year, the other half as soon as next year), put new caps on the budget, remove the requirement that the RAC has its own independent staff, and much more.
Thankfully, Gulf War veterans' many friends in Congress continue to fund the Gulf War Illness CDMRP, far outside where staff at the broken U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can do any damage.
Meanwhile, instead of addressing Gulf War veterans' concerns, VA instead issues press releases spinning as if they're doing a great job for Gulf War veterans while failing to respond to concerns raised. One would think that VA leadership might want to at least start to play catch-up with the GWI CDMRP, which is finding real answers to the unique, toxin-induced neurological disease that is Gulf War Illness.
VA can and must do much better. In the meantime, Gulf War veterans can count on talented non-VA researchers like Dr. Jim Baraniuk using non-VA funding to help improve the health and lives of the quarter million Gulf War veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness.
SOURCE: Forbes.com, Rebecca Ruiz reporting