19 February, 2007

Problems at WR: THe Real Story

Here's an article about some of the bureaucratic issues for wounded outpatients at Walter Reed. Unlike the WaPo, the Army Times cuts out the sensationalism and spin:

In 2001, 10 percent of soldiers going through the medical retirement process received permanent disability benefits. In 2005, with two wars raging, that percentage dropped to 3 percent, according to the Government Accountability Office. Reservists dropped from 16 percent to 5 percent.

Soldiers go to VA to try for more benefits, but the department had a staggering 400,000-case backup on new claims in fiscal 2006, according to VA.


Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, the number of soldiers wading through the paperwork, physicals and appointments has doubled at Walter Reed. According to a Defense Department directive, it should take a total of 120 days from start to finish, but the average stay for Walter Reed soldiers is 270 days. The soldiers navigate a complicated system with the help of counselors with little more experience — or rank — than they have, and who lack training, according to a March 2006 Government Accountability Office report.

If you really want to understand the travesty of what happens in the out-patient and med boards process at WR, and why, this is a must-read.