WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Today, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), with Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), as well as Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), toured Walter Reed Hospital, including Building 18, to gain first hand knowledge of the conditions at the facility.
?As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, I am concerned not only about the quality of housing there, but the difficulties servicemembers are having in being processed and evaluated by the Department of Defense. The Walter Reed story may well be indicative of the larger problem in our military health care and disability systems,? Akaka said. ?Our men and women in the Armed Forces have battled foreign enemies, they should not be battling to bureaucratic hassles at the very time they should be recuperating from their wounds. We need to work to fix an antiquated military disability system and bring it into the 21st Century.?
Also today, it was revealed that President George W. Bush will announce in his weekly radio address that he will name a bipartisan commission to investigate the quality of care at our nation's military and VA hospitals.
?I am encouraged that the president is putting a much needed emphasis ON THE CARE servicemembers and veterans are receiving. These men and women deserve the best care, and to that end, we need to ensure that DoD and VA provides them with the health care, benefits and, respect that they deserve."