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Dole-Shalala Commission Issues Final Report

Posted by nytexan on July 25, 2007

Hopefully these recommendations will not sit on a shelf like the 9/11 Commission report.

From Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

WASHINGTON (AP) – A presidential commission on Wednesday urged broad changes to veterans’ care that would boost benefits for family members helping the wounded, establish an easy-to-use Web site for medical records and overhaul the way disability pay is awarded.

The nine-member panel, led by former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Donna Shalala, health and human services secretary during the Clinton administration, also recommended stronger partnerships between the Pentagon and the private sector to boost treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Gone will be the days of injured soldiers telling the same information to doctors over and over again,” said Shalala, who said the proposals seek to provide more customized, personalized care to injured Iraq war veterans.

She called the report a set of recommendations that could be implemented right away. About six of the 35 proposals require legislation, while the rest call for action primarily by the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Among the recommendations was an indirect rebuke of the VA – a call for Congress to “enable all veterans who have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq who need post-traumatic stress disorder care to receive it from the VA.”

Only recently, the VA has taken steps to add mental health counselors and 24-hour suicide prevention services at all facilities, following high-profile incidents of suicides involving veterans. In the past, the VA had failed to use all the money for mental health that was allotted to it.

Here are some of the recommendations:

  • Boost staff and money for Walter Reed until it closes in the coming years. Also urges Pentagon to work with the VA to create “integrated care teams” of doctors and nurses to see injured troops through their recovery.
  • Restructure the disability pay systems to give the VA more responsibility for awarding benefits.
  • Require comprehensive training programs in post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries for military leaders, VA and Pentagon personnel.
  • Create a “My eBenefits” Web site, developed jointly by the VA and Pentagon, that would allow service members and doctors to access private medical information as the injured move from facility to facility to receive treatment.
  • Provide better family support, because one-third of injured Iraq war veterans reported that a family member or close friend had to relocate to care for them. It calls for training and counseling for families of service members who require long-term care and improved family leave and insurance benefits for family members

5 Responses to “Dole-Shalala Commission Issues Final Report”

  1. kip152 said

    Let’s hope they don’t turn this into a partisan thing.

  2. nytexan said

    With Congress something as simple as making a sandwich could get screwed up.

    They would really have a problem with the vets and the troops if they don’t act on this.

  3. phil_in_ny said

    I’m sure they will. Back and fourth until gridlock, and then…..nothing.

  4. nytexan said

    Of course Congress may do this one thing without a problem and then Bush will veto it because it sends the wrong message to the troops.

  5. ClapSo said

    I wouldn’t count on any of those useless bastards in washingtOOn doing anything about this. They just don’t care…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

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