Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Haliburton of PTSD?

Is there no end to the lust for money generated by the Iraq war?

I got this e-mail early Tuesday morning.

Dear Fellow Veteran,

It is my privilege to announce the results of the Webb & Associates
Chaplaincy Consulting, operational-combat stress prevention (OCSP) pilot program, implemented with the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division from January 2004 to June 2005. These 632 Marines deployed to Iraq for 7 months performing 1200 missions and driving nearly 1,000,000 miles.

An unprecedented 95% reduction in PTSD was achieved.

Really? How did Webb and Associates come up with that number, and how did they determine that it is "unprecedented?"
This represents an ANNUAL savings of $921 Million for all troops currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, considering only VA treatment and compensation costs. These savings will help ensure our obligations to current veterans are maintained. Help us prevent stress in our newest veterans by supporting our OCSP standard.

If we throw tax dollars at Webb and Associates, we'll save VA dollars at the other end?

I don't think so. But Webb and Associates would like me to believe otherwise.

Please click on this link (purposely not included) and register to send a letter to Congressman Duncan Hunter, House Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Your letter will urge the funding and implementation of the Webb & Associates Operational-Combat Stress Prevention model within the entire U.S. Armed Forces.

As a Veteran myself, you have my sincerest thanks for your generous efforts to support our military service members, past, present and future.

God Bless,
Tom Webb
Webb & Associates Chaplaincy Consulting
A Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business


I've sent Tom Webb an e-mail at prayerboss@earthlink.net, the address provided on the Webb and Associates web site.

Dear Tom Webb:

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) here. I too am a disabled veteran, and recently received your e-mail promoting your "chaplaincy" organization and your efforts on behalf of veterans suffering from PTSD.

In the spirit of fairness, let me tell you up front that I strongly suspect you are trying to exploit our returning veterans for monetary gain, and that you found my e-mail address through legally questionable data mining techniques.

I've posted my doubts about your motives and methods here, here and elsewhere.

At your convenience, please send me any materials or references that might allay my concerns about you and your organization, and I will make aggressive efforts to support you, your company, and your past, present, and future activities.

God bless,

Jeff Huber


  1. Perhaps he invoked the Intelligent Designer to take out His Eraser and just zipped out all that pesty PTSD. And to think of all the years I apparently wasted treating veterans with accepted medical techniques when it was so easy to let the Designer do it.
    It really gripes me when all these amateurs like chaplains and family docs think that they are experts in the treatment of PTSD because they read a pamphlet about it once. Their simplistic and ultimately dismissive approach does infinitely more harm than good. However, it does allow the VA funders to cut funding and then blame the victim when the ostensibly proven, cost effective "treatment" fails. I can see the medical records now, replete with the words "malingering" and "treatment resistant with characterological features" as convenient cover for the charlatans.
    Great reply to him. Wonder who is backing him?

  2. Well, I answered my own questions about Webb. The Dallas Theological seminary trained him. Texas. The same state that took the medical profession out of substance abuse treatment and gave the gig to the faith based amateurs, taking away all oversight of an industry fraught with physical peril and also taking away any patient's right to seek legal redress for malpractise or abuse. And eliminating efficacy studies.
    The model he is using is Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), something I also trained in and have been certified to provide for the past 15 years. It is a technique used by the States for assisting victims of natural disasters and other trauma. I've used it in response to widespread destruction from a major hurricane and after hostage situations. In training, the teams consisted of law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders paired up with Behavioral Health professionels. Webb's twist on it is that he is not using trained Behavioral Health practitioners to assist the peer counseling. Better stick with untrained amateurs he says. His breakthrough interventions that he wants the taxpayer to fund? Teaching the shellshocked to breathe and to talk about the traumatic event with peers. CISD is a full blown, well developed treatment plan so why in the world would anyone need to pay this Bozo to reinvent the wheel?
    Well, here comes the Added Value for the taxpayer bucks:"Participants were linked with community members from churches and other religious groups who provided support in the form of: prayer (20,000 people prayed for 2/11 every day), recreation and entertainment, limited financial aid, emotional support, and resource referral." The limited financial aid is documented as follows: his group gave $300 to a vet's wife so she could get a pair of glasses. Wow. That's stunning support. There was no evidence or examples of the other forms of "care".
    And the real kicker is the rigorous use of the scientific method to determine treatment efficacy:The Big Eraser- Only a few folks called the chaplain's contact person for any kind of follow up. Hence the tremendous success, the dramatic decrease in percentages. No one assessed the vets for continued evidence of symptoms. No one interviewed family members. Zip. But we shouldn't let the objective facts interfere with FAITH BASED PTSD treatment. There is no control for confounding factors like the returning vets knew better than to contact those clowns again. He's just praying that no one will look into his bogus claims to efficacy. So it is exactly as my nasty first comment above hints. Or as it has been so concisely stated here "Blather, Rinse and Repeat" to which I will add "and Pray & Pick the Taxpayers Pocket"

  3. Now you have me even more disgusted with this guy than I was before.


    I'm really glad I took him to task.

  4. PTSD:Now You See It ,Now You Don't. Check this out at WAPO to add further fuel to your fire. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/26/AR2005122600792_2.html

  5. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Yet another reason why I love your blog, Jeff. Retired USAF Chief Master Sergeant (who also experienced the Navy's chief initiation ritual before everything had to be PC). My PTSD problems surfaced after 9/11. Fortunately, as a retired military member, I have access to a very caring and professional psychiatrist at a nearby military hospital.

    Life Member, DAV

  6. DEF,

    I see the WaPo story's gaining traction in the bloggo--


    So glad to hear you go the help you need. Especially glad you didn't have to go to an outsourced faith based contracting outfit.


  7. As a veteran I am just offended and am not shy about saying so. This is just one more assault on the military and they wonder why recruitment is down.

  8. I get more entertainment from TV commercials than the shows, frequently. Lately I've noticed the recruitment ads, and they're well-done, generally, but -- who in their right mind is buying it?!?

    I feel sorry for those young people and their families, more than anything.

  9. Anonymous6:40 AM

    have they responded to your letter?

  10. Jeff,

    The recruiting ads are, well, Orwellian.


    No response yet.