Troops' post-deployment questionnaires missing

AP News
Posted: Nov 19, 2009 4:29 PM

Congressional investigators said Thursday that tens of thousands of questionnaires aimed at measuring the mental and physical health of returning combat troops can't be found.

As a result, the Government Accountability Office said, the military does not have reasonable assurances that the service members got the opportunity to report their health problems on the forms.

The forms are filled out electronically and used to track health problems among troops. They also give returning soldiers a chance to say if they'd like to see a counselor.

The GAO said about 20 percent of the questionnaires it sought during a set period were missing.

The military's policy is that military members must fill out the forms from three months to six months after they return home from war. The hope is after being home for a while, the member will recognize any problems and seek help.

Military leaders told the GAO that it agreed that more controls should be used to ensure greater accountability with the program.

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President Barack Obama recently signed legislation that included a provision pushed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., that requires a face-to-face screening for every service member who returns from war. It's modeled after a program used by the Montana National Guard that was created after Montana National Guard Spc. Chris Dana committed suicide in March 2007.