Friday, March 09, 2007

The Picture of Poor Health

A plan to clear up the red tape of military and veteran's health care died two years ago -- just as President Bush's nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs took office.

The VA employee working on the "Congingency Tracking System" told ABC News it'd been approved already. But was shelved when Jim Nicholson became Secretary.

ABC reports that as a result, seriously wounded troops, released from the military due to the severity of their wounds -- were released into the VA's sea of red tape.

The program only cost $1 million dollars to set up. But Sec Nicholson reportedly nixed it as being too expensive.

Sec Nicholson told ABC, he can't even remember the program.

But then, he had other things on his mind at the time.

The VA was dealing with a flood of wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, had run up a $1 billion shortfall, and -- as the Washington Post reported at the time -- they had a different priority.

A memo at the time stressed that pictures of Sec Nicholson had to be hung immediately in all VA offices and hospitals. Amid the crises the VA faced at the time -- the memo called the pictures "highest priority" and demanded daily updates on the status of hanging pictures.

It's not a pretty picture emerging of Sec Nicholson.

And this is the man President Bush tapped to head up immediate reforms to problems at Walter Reed.

Heckuva job. (ABCNews/WaPo)

No comments: