Monday, April 30, 2007

Separate Studies Find Similar Problems at Walter Reed

Two studies—one completed by the Defense Department and the other in process by the Army—have found similar problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in the wake of negative news reports.

A series of articles in The Washington Post in February outlined substandard conditions at Walter Reed outpatient housing facilities prompting a series of
investigations.

As a result, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates commissioned The Independent Review Group to examine Walter Reed’s — as well as the National Naval Medical Center’s — practices.

Comprised of political, military, medical and industry leaders, the nine-member panel found problems with “continuum of care” and “leadership, policy and oversight” at Walter Reed, according to a draft report dated April 10.

They determined the primary care from battlefield to the hospital and inpatient experiences were excellent. The problems arose after transition to “outpatient” status.

Most notable, the group found poor administrative services, unqualified case managers and inadequate techniques to address certain injuries—particularly traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Similarly, a study conducted by an Army team tasked with surveying wounded warrior care has determined that the medical and physical board process is mired in bureaucracy, more training is needed for liaison officer and case managers, and the Army’s medical hold and medical holdover process needs restructuring.

Since March, the Army team has visited all Army medical treatment facilities, said Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, as he announced the preliminary findings Wednesday.

The full report is not yet final.

For more information, go to the NGAUS website.

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