Walter Reed: Longterm Needs

March 5, 2007
From New Member and Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Rep. Harry Mitchell (AZ-05):

Mitchell to Hold Hearings On Longterm Needs of Walter Reed Patients

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell will hold hearings on reports of dilapidated conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and how those conditions could impact soldiers as they transition to their status as veterans Thursday, March 8.

Mitchell is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

"The care wounded soldiers receive in the weeks and months after their injuries have a direct impact on their future needs as veterans," said Mitchell.

WHEN: 3:30 p.m., Thursday, March 8

WHO: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Earlier this week, Mitchell joined U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and Claire McCaskill and U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel to introduce the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act of 2007 to ensure that injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan receive the care they deserve.

Read the text of the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act of 2007 >>

Bill would reform treatment of wounded vets

Rick Maze, Navy Times - March 1, 2007

In the wake of the continuing scandal over the housing and medical evaluation process for wounded service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, House and Senate Democrats have unveiled a sweeping bill promising comprehensive reforms of how combat veterans and their families are treated.

Called the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act, the bill would mandate housing standards for the wounded, overhaul disability review boards, require one caseworker for every 20 recovering service members, extend job protections for service members to include family members who are at their side during recovery, demand that an ombudsmen be available around the clock by phone and in any hospital with more than 100 patients, and create a new independent oversight board to monitor how recovering service members are treated.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, a Democratic presidential candidate and a Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee member who is the chief sponsor of the bill, said it is designed to "not only fix problems at Walter Reed but improve conditions at other hospitals."

"We think this is a comprehensive bill," he said.

"This is not window dressing," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., one of the co-sponsors. "This is not a new coat of paint."

Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., one of the House co-sponsors, said, "It is appalling and absolutely unacceptable for our wounded troops to return from the front lines and receive this kind of treatment. We are going to investigate this and do everything we can to make sure this never happens to our brave men and women again."

Click through to read more on the details of the legislation. The article closes by noting Speaker Pelosi's support for the effort:

The effort has the support of congressional leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said wounded military personnel and combat veterans "deserve nothing less than the best care, but the continuing revelations at Walter Reed Army Medical Center show a troubling trend."

Pelosi said legislation to change outpatient treatment will be discussed as part of the wartime supplemental appropriations bill that will be debated in the House and Senate within weeks.

"Of all of the debts owed to the men and women who serve in our military, and to their families, none is more important than to ensure that those wounded in battle are treated immediately, and for as long as is required, with all of the medical skill, compassion and effectiveness that can be brought to bear," Pelosi said. "It is clear that improvements are necessary to make certain that our national obligation is met."