Monday, February 19, 2007

Shedding Light On The Other Walter Reed

Seems to have worked. Like gangbusters. Now one hopes that they are serious about repairing the damage and aren't just waiting until the spotlight gets turned off. Absolutely amazing all the changes they have planned, and in such a short period of time.
Walter Reed and Army officials have been "meeting continuously for three days" since the articles began appearing, he said. A large roundtable meeting with Army and defense officials will take place at the Pentagon early tomorrow morning to continue talks about improvements in the outpatient system, he added.

Weightman said the medical center had received an outpouring of concern about conditions and procedures since the articles appeared and had taken other steps to improve what soldiers and their families described as a messy battlefield of bureaucratic problems and mistreatment.
Bureaucracy, just another way of saying you don't want to do it. Until you have to. Fascinating how quickly things can get done, if the right people find out. In this case, the American people.

Aren't we great?


  1. Actually,

    All that Walter Reed is doing is postponing some other problem. Since there FY07 budget is already set, all that Walter Reed can do is cut someone else's budget to fix up Building 18.

    Is listening to a comment by the commander on Washington Post radio, my guess is that Walter Reed was trying to use an 8A minority set aside contractor to perform the repairs on Building 18 and that the contractor failed.

  2. I agree that they are robbing Peter to pay Paul, but the troops should have been thought of first. At no time should a brain injured patient be wandering anywhere, under any circumstance. There is no excuse for not being able to clothe the injured.

    In 1975 I was transferring bases and took leave at my parent's, next to an AFB. Payday arrived, so I went on base, gave them my records and they cut me a check. I was in the Army, but it didn't matter. When I got to my permanent duty station, I told them and life continued on.

    Thirty years later and military brass have to find out how bad something is from the press. I'm tired of pomp and circumstance and want substance for the troops. If we keep the pressure on, maybe, just maybe, our troops will get the help they need. And deserve.

    Nice move trying to blame it on a minority contractor instead of budget cuts and a lack of caring.

  3. The problems were not due to budget cuts but to spending priorities. Walter Reed's budget has been expanded but the demand for medical care comes before living quarters.

    In reading many of the left of center bloggers on this, I have been amazed at the many uninformed comments.

    They seem to believe that there is a magic wand out there that will make the government be more efficient.

    Sorry, but anyone who has ever dealt with the government should raelize how inefficent it is.

    The reporters in the Washington Post seemed unaware that the Commanding General of Walter Reed does not control the barracks and housing due to an Army reorganization. The Installation Management Command now budgets for and manages housing. The Army's own regulation prevent the mission commanders from transferring funds to the garrision commander.

    Also, all commanders are evaluated on the amount of minority contracting they fund. The easiest place to contract with minorit, disadvantaged firms is minor construction and repairs. Thus, the commanders are forced, by law, to hire minorities contractors whether they can do the job or not.(you can thank the Democrats in Congress for that rule).

    You should also look at the demographics of the civilian workforce at Walter Reed versus the demographics of the soliders in the Washington Post. That subject is just too PC for the Washington Post to address.

  4. maybe now we can get past the stupid debate about supporting the troops. the answer is that no one cares...face it actions speak louder than words. so now that we have cleared that up, put another yellow ribbon on your three ton suv and let's get down to the business of solving some real problems.

  5. Excuse me, but why are you so hung up on the living quarters? That was just the tip of the iceberg. There were many other problems.

    if Walter Reed is qualified to treat the President and Congress, they should be equipped to treat the service members. The truth of the matter is that as long they are no longer critical, they are pushed out to make room for the new injuries. They aren't healed or even close to it, but out the door they go, out of sight, out of mind.

    This has nothing to do with the population in the surrounding area, this has to do with the disrespect from the top down.

    And as I've said before, who cares whose fault it is, just fix it. The troops deserve that much. The deterioration in medical care started under Reagan, when bombs became more important than people.

    What are you doing to change the situation?

  6. Deb,

    You can whine all you want and repeat the mantras you have read on other blogs, but in the end there is no "magic wand" that will make things better at Walter Reed. Some short term actions can be performed to ameliorate the problems but in the long run they cannot be solved.

    The commander can tell the low level civilian employees to stop misfiling, to stop losing paperwork, to do their jobs well, but if those workers decide not to care about the quality of their work, there is little that the commanders can do about it. Walter Reed has been a long term problem for decades and no commander has really solved the problem.

    I see the failures of Walter Reed as more an expression of the long term problems created by a government that cannot manage low level problems and just cannot performed day to day function with any level of competence. The government just is not good at solving long term chronic problems (look at inner city schools, welfare programs, traffic).

    I do not expect the commander at Walter Reed to do any better job than I would expect the head of DC public schools to do or the Mayor of DC (same city, same culture, same workers).

    If you know of some magic solution for Walter Reed you should be able to make a fortune solving the programs of every large city in the United States.

  7. I'm not whining (otherwise it would be labeled under that category), and I didn't read any other blogs to form my own opinion. I'm a veteran and was born a military dependent, I know what good care the MILITARY used to provide before everything was outsourced.

    When I joined, there used to be almost a two year wait to be a med tech, now we are crying for medical personnel to fill the hole. As we used to say when I was serving, "shit rolls down hill" and if you don't have competency at the top, it doesn't matter how good or bad you are at the bottom.

    Just admit that there is a problem that can be solved if we try working together, all you want to do is place blame. And make no effort to fix the problem.

    The troops thank you for your support. That ribbon really helped to replace the armor they didn't have, didn't it? Oh wait, if they had been properly equipped they might not be in their current situation. I'll bet you think it's all their fault for being so stupid as to get injured in the first place. After all, it is a volunteer Army. How about you go help them out?

  8. I would love to hear how to think that chronic problems can be solved at Walter Reed. If repeating a few homilies fixed problems then problems like the DC public schools would have been fixed long ago.

    There are a few quick fixes that can make lessen the problems at Walter Reed. But chronic problems take long term solutions. I somehow doubt that a Democratic Party controlled Congress is going to let the military perform its civilian personnel system or its contracting system to make the Commander at Walter Reed and the Garrison Commanders job easier.

    Remember, Walter Reed is almost $100 million behind in maintenance costs because they fixed earlier problems by putting off maintenance.

    I have not read any solution from you other yet. What is your solution to make the civilian employees at Walter Reed to do their job?