Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It's happening at Fort Lewis too

Fort Lewis was my dream assignment. The Pacific Northwest is awesome. We had a great unit, great soldiers, and a lot of fun.

As I have stated beforehand, the problems are not confined to Walter Reed. Now, some at Fort Lewis are speaking out as well.
However, a reporter and photographer from The News Tribune of Tacoma toured
medical facilities at Fort Lewis last week, including a World War II-era brick
building that’s long been scheduled for a major renovation and a cluster of
modular buildings that resemble portable school classrooms.

Despite the age of the structures, the paper found the soldiers there
to be clean, comfortable and warm. Soldiers and officials said the problems
reported at Walter Reed do not exist at Fort Lewis, where housing and treatment
for wounded and injured soldiers are major priorities.

Madigan Army Hospital is located in the far northern part of the base. Right next to I-5, but away from most of the amenities on the base. I know the barracks they are talking about, we lived in similar stuff down near the airfield.

At least the conditions are not as bad.

The complaints stem from the time it takes to process claims.
An average of a year and a half for disability claims to be processed before injured military personnel are discharged for civilian treatment by the VA is too long, especially under a Defense Department directive setting the maximum acceptable stay at 120 days, Leyva said.

“That means service members, many with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, are on hold for 18 months where they can’t pay the bills,” she said. Lacking sufficient caseworkers to help with the process, injured soldiers often settle for lower disability ratings, which mean lower disability payments, to escape from treatment limbo, she said.

This issue remains consistent across the board. Soldiers and Veterans alike are having to wait longer and longer for their care, and that is wrong.

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