State News

Womack Hospital Gets Clean Bill of Health From Inspectors

Posted March 8, 2007

— North Carolina's three military hospitals have been contacted or visited recently by Pentagon fact-finding teams in the wake of disclosures of shoddy care at one of the country's top Army hospitals.

A team of about two dozen people from the Defense Department visited the state's largest military hospital, Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, hospital spokeswoman Shannon Lynch said Wednesday. The team requested hospital data, visited clinics and toured barracks where soldiers stay when receiving outpatient care.

"Basically they asked us to walk them through everything from the point a soldier is air-evaced here," Lynch said.

Col. Terry Walters, who oversees Womack, said inspectors were very satisfied with the hospital.

"They found parts of our system, namely the Department of Deployment Health, may be a best practice for the Army," Walters said.

“If you want to look at quality of care, I would gladly stand them (Womack medical staff) right by the side of any hospital in the country, including Duke, UNC, Johns Hopkins, you name it,” said Col. Colin Greene, the deputy commander for clinical services.

Marine hospitals at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point, and a clinic at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base also have been contacted, officials said.

President George W. Bush ordered a comprehensive review of conditions at military and veterans hospitals after substandard outpatient care was revealed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., one of the premier facilities for injured soldiers.

Congress has held hearings on the scandal, and a bipartisan panel was formed to investigate problems at military hospitals, which have been overwhelmed by injured troops from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush said the panel would work to restore confidence in the system of caring for wounded U.S. troops.

Pentagon fact-finding teams are expected to visit 11 of the country's largest military medical facilities in seven states, including Womack. The hospital has 158 beds.

Womack administrators created a clinic for wounded soldiers as the Iraq war began in March 2003. Lynch said a case worker is assigned to each soldier who follows the soldier through the medical system, making sure follow-up appointments are scheduled and problems are avoided.

"They stay on top of things for us," said Sgt. Jesse Downing, who has been a patient at Womack since last August after he was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. "We call the case managers, and they have our backs. They make the phone calls for us. Overall, I would say I'm very pleased."

Case workers are also used at the Naval hospital at Camp Lejeune, said Capt. Brian Dawson, the facility's second in command. The hospital doesn't have outpatient housing, though a unique Wounded Warrior Barracks operated by the Marines was built at the urging of a Marine officer. Reporters and outsiders visit the well-kept barracks regularly.

The smaller Naval Hospital Cherry Point has two case managers who handle only 34 service members, about the same load as one case worker at Camp Lejeune.

Womack opened in 2000, and the Cherry Point hospital in 1994. Camp Lejeune's medical facility, which opened in 1982, is being renovated.

Noting that the Army has the lowest war-time disease rate ever and the fewest deaths from combat wounds, Walters said the military delivers health care effectively.Smaller military medical centers also have gotten attention.

“I feel passionately that we do it better than anyone else in the world, and the results prove us,” she said.

The Thomas Koritz Clinic at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro has treated only three patients injured in Iraq or Afghanistan, but its officials have been contacted about offsite housing and case management, clinic spokesman Master Sgt. Arthur Webb said.

The clinic has no hospital beds or offsite housing but does have case management.

19 Comments

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  • virgomisty22 Mar 8, 2007

    dobe_dobe_doodoo- so are you going to dance around the question or answer it?

  • Ladidada Mar 8, 2007

    "GOP Knew Of Walter Reed Problems While In Control Of Congress"

    Senior Republicans who knew about problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center while their party controlled Congress insist they did all they could to prod the Pentagon to fix them.

    But C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., former chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said he stopped short of going public with the hospital's problems to avoid embarrassing the Army while it was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002465100.html

  • RonnieR Mar 8, 2007

    Some things that no one seems to mention. Imus was talking
    about the conditions in the old hotel at WRAMC almost a year ago. Also,
    the last BRAC got WRAMC and, as one who was at a post the first BRAC got (PSF), maintainence money goes away pretty fast when
    a place is slated for closure.

  • virgomisty22 Mar 8, 2007

    dobe_dobe_doodoo- so are you going to dance around the question or answer it? Because all your doing it the statement above is blowin hot air read the question again and see if you are able to answer it.
    - the Liberal

  • mvnull Mar 8, 2007

    I was not fond of the Clinton administration, but y'all have to remember that for 6 of those 8 years, Congress was completely controlled by Republicans. Those same people who blame Clinton for the shortcomings during the 1990s are quick to now blame the Democratic Congress for perceived shortcomings since January (or, expected shortcomings later this year or next).

    One of my favorite sayings is, "Consistency is the last resort of the unimaginative." I applaud the reactionary right for their imagination.

  • Trooper Mar 8, 2007

    This is all great that something is being looked at but as most veterans know, this is like veterans day on which they have parades and speeches and the you're nothing for the other 364 days. I think the government ought to tell everyone why it takes a veteran an average of five years to process a claim. The VA Administrators must get paid on commission because they do everything in there power to cheat veterans out of compensation. How are the VA administrators going to handle claims from Afgan and Iraq vets when they can't even make a decision about Vietnam era vets.

  • spiritwarriorwoman Mar 8, 2007

    "President Bush has ordered a comprehensive review of conditions at military and veterans hospitals after substandard outpatient care was revealed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., one of the premier facilities for injured soldiers." - AMEN, AMEN!!! And to the VA hospitals as well. Most are so old and inadequate, the poor Vets who go there have to wait for hours and then get shuffled from doctor to doctor before actually having a permanent doctor assigned to them. I don't hold this against the VA; they're doing the best they can with what they have, but if the government is going to create Vets, they need to take better care of them afterwards. One just across the street from me blew his head off last week. Had problems with alcohol all his life and got disability following 20 years service, but got no help trying to fight the disease. Sad. Praying for soldiers and Vets everywhere. Without them, we'd all be speaking Chinese. God bless. Rev. RB

  • kmason910 Mar 8, 2007

    Maybe somebody will finally take a look at the whole issue of privatization. Walter Reed's facilities management contract is with IAP Worldwide Services. Of their top 11 management, 5 have ties to Halliburton/Kellog,Brown&Root. Now ain't that cozy, especially after Bush assured everyone when he ran for reelection that military and VA care were top-notch. Poor planning, poor execution and taking care of buddies instead of business.

    Is there a pattern here?

  • PSPro Mar 8, 2007

    They should walk thru the VA hospitals as well!!

  • Worland Mar 8, 2007

    I REALLY look forward to Congress looking into military health care. Under the CLINTON administration, the military health care system was turned into an HMO (Tri-Care). The number of military doctors and technicians were drastically reduced. Before CLINTON, I could walk into the base clinic and get seen the same day. Now I have to make an appointment with our HMO and wait as long two weeks or more to be seen! Considering the military's HMO only pays Medicare rates, most off base doctors won't take us as patients... and that's IF the HMO approves your referral to be seen off base.

    Bush inherited a military health care system in stark decline. Please don't blame him for the sins of Slick Willie!

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