AR20160000875

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 11 February 2016

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20160000875

THE BOARD CONSIDERED THE FOLLOWING EVIDENCE:

1. Application for correction of military records (with supporting documents provided, if any).

2. Military Personnel Records and advisory opinions (if any).

THE APPLICANT’S REQUEST, STATEMENT, AND EVIDENCE:

1. The applicant requests a review of the military disability evaluation pertaining to a mental health (MH) condition.

2. The applicant states, in effect, the case file should be reviewed in accordance with the Secretary of Defense directive for a comprehensive review of members who were referred for a disability evaluation between 11September 2001 and 30April 2012 and whose MH diagnosis was changed during that process.

3. The applicant submitted an application through the Department of Defense (DOD) Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) MH Special Review Panel (SRP).

CONSIDERATION OF EVIDENCE:

1. The PDBR SRP conducted a comprehensive review of the applicant’s submissions and records for evidence of inappropriate changes in the diagnosis of an MH condition during processing through the military disability system.

2. The DOD memorandum, dated 27February 2013, directed the Service Secretaries to conduct a review of MH diagnoses for service members completing a disability evaluation process between 11September 2001 and 30April 2012 to determine if service members were disadvantaged by a changed diagnosis over the course of their physical disability process.

3. In the processing of this case, an advisory opinion was obtained from the PDBR SRP and the applicant was provided a copy.

4. The applicant did not respond to the advisory opinion.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

1. After a comprehensive review of the applicant’s case, the SRP determined by unanimous vote that there should be no change to the applicant’s disability and retirement determination.

2. The SRP considered the appropriateness of changes in MH diagnoses, Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) fitness determination; and if unfitting, whether the provisions of Department of Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) section 4.129 were applicable, and a disability rating recommendation in accordance with VASRD section 4.130. The SRP reviewed the records for evidence of inappropriate changes or elimination of diagnosis of the MH condition during processing through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) and found evidence of a diagnosis elimination.

3. The SRP first addressed the question of diagnosis, noting the diagnostic variance between the Service findings of no diagnosis of an AXIS I MH condition and the VA compensation & pension (C&P) examination diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) narrative summary (NARSUM) reconciliation of apparent inconsistencies, the MEB examiner noted that the applicant had neither reported the symptoms that he reported at the VA C&P examination to the medical treatment facility, nor had he sought treatment for psychiatric symptoms subsequent to the VA examination and prior to separation. Therefore the VA diagnosis would not be included for the MEB. The applicant did not meet the inclusion criteria in the Terms of Reference of the MH Diagnosis Review Project.

4. The MH condition diagnosed by the VA was not adjudicated by the PEB, but the DES silence on the applicants MH symptoms or conditions is inferred by the SRP to indicate that no MH condition was unfitting. The SRPs charge with respect MH conditions referred for review that were determined to be not unfitting by the PEB is an assessment of the appropriateness of the PEBs fitness adjudication. The SRPs threshold for countering PEB not-unfit determinations requires a preponderance of evidence. The MH condition was reviewed and considered by the SRP. The evidence in the records noted above indicated that while in service the applicant initially reported psychological symptoms on routine screening for symptoms of an MH disorder following his return from deployment.

5. The notes also indicated that he requested counseling for PTSD and depression in May 2008, but there is no evidence in the records before the SRP that he was involved in such counseling. In the combined 31 case management and MH notes that followed, the applicant reported eating and sleeping well, and denied depression or other psychological problems; he participated in recreational outings; and, was applying to colleges.

6. At multiple MH assessments in the record, including routine social work evaluation, a psychiatric surgical pre-screening, and throughout the course of marriage counseling, no primary MH condition was diagnosed, other than Partner relational problems. No MH condition was profiled or implicated in the commanders statement, or judged to fail retention standards. There was no indication from the record that any MH condition significantly interfered with satisfactory duty performance.

7. The SRP concluded that the preponderance of evidence did not support an unfit determination for any MH disorder at the time of evaluation in the IDES or prior to separation. After due deliberation in consideration of the preponderance of the evidence, the Board concluded that there was insufficient cause to recommend a change to the PEB adjudication.

8. The available evidence shows the SRP’s assessment should be accepted.

BOARD VOTE:

________ ________ ________ GRANT FULL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT PARTIAL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT FORMAL HEARING

____x___ ___x____ ____x____ DENY APPLICATION

BOARD DETERMINATION/RECOMMENDATION:

The evidence presented does not demonstrate the existence of a probable error or injustice. Therefore, the Board determined the overall merits of this case are insufficient as a basis for correction of the records of the individual concerned.

_______ _ _x______ ___
CHAIRPERSON

I certify that herein is recorded the true and complete record of the proceedings of the Army Board for Correction of Military Records in this case.

ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20040003532

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ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

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ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20160000875

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ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

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