Bush orders veterans health action plan implemented

By Todd Eastham Wed Apr 25, 8:07 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush said on Tuesday he was ordering implementation of a government-wide “action plan” to improve health care and related services for U.S. troops and returning veterans.

The plan was developed by Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson and members of the Interagency Task Force on Returning Global War on Terror Heroes, Bush said in a statement released late on Tuesday by the White House.

“The brave men and women who have volunteered to protect and defend our country deserve to receive the highest level of support from our grateful nation,” the statement said.

“The Task Force has proposed specific recommendations to immediately begin addressing the problems and gaps in services that were identified across the veterans and military healthcare systems.

“These recommendations include directing the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs to develop a joint process for disability determination.”Disability determinations are used to establish levels of disability for retirement and Veterans Affairs compensation.

“I commend the work of the Task Force, welcome its recommendations, and have directed Secretary Nicholson to work with all agencies involved … and to report back to me within 45 days on how these measures are being implemented.”

In March, President Bush apologized to wounded U.S. troops who endured dilapidated conditions and bureaucratic delays at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the flagship military hospital in Washington. The Army’s top civilian leader and other officials were ousted over the revelations.

There have also been questions about military mental health care. The General Accountability Office reported last year that just 22 percent of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who showed signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder were referred by the Pentagon for mental health evaluations.

Nine U.S. senators asked the GAO this month to look into how the Defense Department treats troops returning from Iraq or Afghanistan with mental health problems.

“We have … heard of cases in which service members with PTSD are diagnosed as having ‘personality disorders’ that the Army considers ‘pre-existing,’ thus depriving otherwise eligible combat veterans of disability benefits and much-needed mental health care,” the Senators wrote in the GAO request.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo! News.


~ by Brad Edwards on April 26, 2007.

5 Responses to “Bush orders veterans health action plan implemented”

  1. It looks like this ridiculous situation and handling of PTSD is finally starting to get some notice. Let’s hope this action plan is more than just bad press management and damage control.

  2. Phrases like “directing … to develop a joint process” sound too much like ” Oh shit, the patient’s awake, feed him some more gas !” to have much credibility. Katrina still is a SNAFU with no sign of abatement – with that level of ‘expertise’ in resolving problems and the abysmal previous record I wouldn’t hold my breath.
    Better to organize for a totally new structure and identify sneaky legislative roadblocks. One site I breezed through said there was a deliberate strategy to fragment ‘delivery systems’ so that common failings would be harder to identify and people could be given the bureaucratic runaround.

  3. “Better to organize for a totally new structure and identify sneaky legislative roadblocks.”
    -Sadly, this is easier said than done. The VA has undergone little reform since it was created int eh aftermath of WWII and the Korean War. To completely restructure the organization at this time would probably do more harm to vets in the short and long term. I agree that the change is certainly needed, but that won’t truly be possible until after the War in Iraq is over and vets are not in such immediate need of its services.

    “ne site I breezed through said there was a deliberate strategy to fragment ‘delivery systems’ so that common failings would be harder to identify and people could be given the bureaucratic runaround.”
    – Honestly, I don’t know how the symptoms of what is going on now are any different than they were 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago. The system just isn’t designed to handle the kind of stress that this war is causing it.

    The kind of abominable problems such as labeling PTSD a “personality disorder” comes more from the politicking and lousy excuses for human beings that are staffing these positions. Within 6 months of his term, Senator O’Bama sacked the IL VA head on SUSPICION that he was given bonuses for denying veterans’ claims. That kind of attitude and corruption is rampant in an organization that has been neglected for decades.

    Thank you for your comment, Opit. Unfortunately, “War is Hell” and while I don’t believe that the current problems of the VA are any single administration’s doing, there are many many ways in which it could be receiving more and better attention than it is.

    Thanks for reading!

  4. Let me establish myself firmly in your mind as a member of the wingnut brigade : sadly, established facts are so well hidden as to make any serious research find items that are too incredible to be easily digested.
    Firstly, I sent an e-mail giving the particulars of an old post on the nature of heritage legislative roadblocks to veterans’ aid : including a disallowance of representation by an attorney when being funneled through a mandated arbitration procedure that supersedes the courts.
    Secondly, demand on VA services has a number of new complications. Among these is the likelihood of untreatable chronic/fatal conditions.
    The simplest way to understand one of these is to check Global Research .ca section on Depleted Uranium. Caveats on this : I don’t know the guy and he says the web page is a result of his personal effort and his employer is not involved. Nonetheless, other information posted there was validated by http://bluegirlredmissouri.blogspot.com/, a Missouri medical instructor/researcher who grew up army brat and Air Force wife. Her opinion counts high;y with me.

  5. P.S. Blue Girl Red State was a navy brat ( my bad ! ) and was not offering medical opinions on Global Research info : but on deployments. My Blogroll is likely the easiest way to keep track of sources – the “Intel” section for resource materials. Many of the links are organized sites that make mine look sparse.

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