President Names Seven More to Walter Reed Commission

By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 9, 2007 5:28 PM

President Bush today named seven people, including two wounded veterans of the Iraq war and the wife of another, to serve on a bipartisan presidential commission charged with investigating the treatment of wounded service members in the wake of a scandal over outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The seven join two other members who were appointed by Bush Tuesday to co-chair the commission: former senator Robert J. Dole, a Kansas Republican who was wounded in World War II, and former health and human services secretary Donna E. Shalala, a Democrat who served for eight years in the Clinton administration.

Bush announced last week that he was forming the commission to conduct a "comprehensive review" of the care being provided to wounded service members, as the administration moved to stem mounting anger among lawmakers and the public over disclosures of substandard living conditions for wounded outpatient soldiers at Walter Reed and bureaucratic inertia in dealing with their problems. The Washington Post documented the shortcomings in a series last month. It described the plight of wounded soldiers living in moldy, vermin-infested rooms in a decrepit former hotel just outside the Walter Reed compound and grappling with an Army bureaucracy that impeded their recovery and frustrated their families.

In a statement issued from Sao Paulo, Brazil, during a presidential visit to Latin America, the White House said the seven include "two veterans wounded in Iraq, the wife of an Army staff sergeant wounded in Iraq, the chairman and CEO of a nonprofit that constructs 'comfort homes' for families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans, two leaders in the health care industry and an expert on veterans affairs and military health care."

Democratic lawmakers had urged Bush to include wounded veterans and family members on the commission.

The seven named today to the panel, officially called the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, are:

· Marc Giammatteo, a former Army captain whose leg was severely injured in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq in 2004. He has undergone more than 30 surgeries at Walter Reed and was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. From 2004 to 2006, he served as an unofficial patient advocate at Walter Reed. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he is now a student at Harvard Business School.

· Jose Ramos, a former Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class in the U.S. Navy who lost an arm in combat during his second tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. He also served one tour in Afghanistan. He is now a student at George Mason University, where he is majoring in international studies and minoring in Islamic studies and Arabic.

· Tammy Edwards, the wife of Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Edwards, who was severely burned in Iraq when a 500-pound bomb exploded under his vehicle in 2005. Since her husband's injury, she has provided support for family members of wounded veterans in her community of Cibolo, Tex. She is currently a research assistant at the Geneva Foundation.

· Kenneth Fisher, senior partner of Fisher Brothers and chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that constructs "comfort homes" for families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans. Fisher Houses serve 8,500 families every year at little to no cost.

· C. Martin Harris, chief information officer and chairman of the Information Technology Division at the Cleveland Clinic. A practicing physician since 1987, he has served on government and private-sector commissions that have addressed health care management issues.

· Edward A. Eckenhoff, founder, president and CEO of the National Rehabilitation Hospital and a member of the District of Columbia Hospital Association Board of Directors. The White House described him as "an innovator in the field of rehabilitation medicine."

· Gail Wilensky, an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE, an international health education foundation. She also co-chairs the Defense Department's Task Force on Future Health Care and previously headed a presidential task force on improving veterans' health care. She also formerly directed the Medicare and Medicaid programs at the Department of the Health and Human Services.

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