As EIR Warned, BRAC and Privatization Both Damaged Walter Reed

12 de abril de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>As EIR Warned, BRAC and Privatization Both Damaged Walter Reed</h1><p>April 11, 2007 (EIRNS)-- BRAC and privatization both contributed to problems at Walter Reed Army Hospital. That is one of the conclusions of the Independent Review Group, the panel assembled by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to look into rehabilitative and outpatient problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The IRG met with the Defense Health Board in a gym at Walter Reed to deliberate on its final report, this afternoon.</p><p>The findings confirm the truth of a widely circulated <em>EIR</em> article on the subject, which referred to warnings <em>EIR</em> had made during the BRAC round in 2003-04.</p><p>The BRAC decision to close Walter Reed "contributed to staffing problems, inattention of leadership to day-to-day operations and a lack of resources for capital improvements." The privatization process "created a destabilizing effect on the ability to hire and retain qualified staff members to operate garrison functions to include facility maintenance and administrative functions. The cost saving effort, in retrospect, proved to be counterproductive." These factors, along with the increased flow of casualties from Cheney's Iraq war and the large number of soldiers in holdover status combined to create what former Army Secretary John O. "Jack" Marsh, one of the IRG's two co-chairs, termed a "perfect storm," which led the collapse of care for soldiers in outpatient status.</p><p>As for what to do about these two problems, the IRG is recommending that the organization and construction of the new facilities that are supposed to replace Walter Reed be speeded up, and that military treatment facilities be exempt from privatization as long as there's a war on.</p></div></body>