Screening out potential killers before they snap - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Screening out potential killers before they snap

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DEL MAR (CBS 8) - Could a new electronic mental health screening system created by a San Diego company have alerted authorities to Aaron Alexis's pathway to violence before it started?

"We're seeing that the clinicians and the patients are able to spend more time together addressing issues that affect their mental health status," Service Wing Healthcare CEO Mike Kurgan said.

For the past year, the developer of Service Wing Healthcare has been testing an electronic screening system that has been desperately needed for military service personnel, including veterans suffering from mental health issues like traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress syndrome and suicidal thoughts.

"Now the clinicians have the ability to do the assessment in real time and see the results," Kurgan said.

The software's developers say if their program had already been in permanent use, it may have caught clues about Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis's state of mind before he went on his rampage.

"The sooner you're able to detect it, the faster you're able to start a treatment process," Kurgan said.

The portable unit was first tested about a year ago on returning combat veterans at Camp Pendleton, and then used at the VA hospital in La Jolla with tremendous success.

"A veteran walked into the facility, used the e-screening tool and was assessed with traumatic brain injury. Based on that, he was able to be scheduled with a clinician later that day and left with a treatment plan the same day," Kurgan said.

The system includes 200 questions, which asks the veteran about his or her educational background, living status, and about what kinds of emotional traumas they may have encountered while on duty or after they returned home.

The software is in final consideration for the VA's expansion to other VA facilities nationwide and the company should hear about the agency's decision by Monday.

"We're confident that we should be awarded the contract, more importantly we think this would be a great service for the veterans in the community," Kurgan said.

Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders says he will remain committed to ensure veterans who suffer from mental health issues during service are provided the care to which they are entitled to receive.

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