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Friday, March 09, 2007

The Walter Reed fiasco

For those wondering when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will finally hit home for Americans, the published stories and congressional testimony about the shoddy care returning military personnel and veterans receive at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington should strike a chord. But as Congressman Chris Smith, R-N.J., notes in a commentary on the Press op-ed page Sunday, it's not surprising. Congress and the executive branch under both parties have shortchanged veterans' health care at facilities nationwide for years.

Maybe the Department of Veterans Affairs budget has increased, but so has the demand for services - demand that will only increase as the war in Iraq drags on. And it's not just for acute care, which most injured service people concede is top-notch at Walter Reed. It's the treatment for less severe physical and psychological scars and outpatient services that leaves these new veterans wondering about the military's promised health care for life. Then there's the red tape, which can be as painful as a physical wound.

The health care system for our military personel and veterans needs fixing - and fast. The Bush administration may have many priorities, but this one has to be near the top of the list.


Blogger Ray said...

The problem is that the Bush administration was caught completely off guard. They thought the war would be over quickly and the number of casualties would be small (remember "The Iraqis will greet our soldiers in the streets as liberators"?).

Another problem is that Walter Reed was slated to either be closed or turned over to the private sector, so it wasn't kept up in order to save money.

Strange priorites.

11:16 PM, March 19, 2007  
Anonymous Larry Farrell said...

While the NJ VA Hospital System doesn't have the facilities problem of Walter Read, it is known for the arrogant manner in which employees communicate with their customers; sick and disabled veterans.

The people in charge are unable, and unwilling, to control these nasty tempered employees, so the abuse of sick and disabled continues with no end to this abuse seemingly in sight.

We need a change of administration, but are unlikely to receive one.

2:33 AM, April 12, 2007  

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