Thursday, March 08, 2007

This is not a new revelation

The problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center have led the media to take a look at the VA hospital system:

Substandard care at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center appears to extend to the nation's vast network of veterans hospitals, the head of a House panel investigating the situation said Thursday.

Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., cited recent audits and reports that pointed to confusing paperwork and poor health care coordination as well as backlogs in the treatment of returning servicemembers who were deemed at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"That's unacceptable and embarrassing, and the American people deserve answers," Mitchell said in remarks prepared for a hearing late Thursday. "I'm not convinced the Veterans Affairs Department is doing its part."

I'm glad this is being looked into by the press and the government, but this is far from being a new revelation. I'm going to speak anecdotally here, but I have had veteran relatives who have utilized the medical care available to them at VA hospitals, but only when they did not have the money or insurance for care in the private sector because the service at those hospitals could be quite substandard. That is a damnable shame, and it is a damnable shame that stretches at least as far back as my childhood. Perhaps this will be the impetus for changes that allow our veterans to get the care that they deserve. But if this becomes a partisan issue, if the media and the left try to make this all about Bush and ignore the long standing problems at these facilities, our vets will ultimately get short changed again. Mark my words.

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