The President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors made six broad recommendations yesterday for "fundamental changes" to the military 's medical system and assistance for veterans.
1. Immediately Create Comprehensive Recovery Plans: The commission recommends developing a "Recovery Plan" for every seriously injured service member and creating "Recovery Coordinators" -- public-health professionals to help implement the plan.
2. Completely Restructure the Disability and Compensation Systems: The Defense Department would determine an injured soldier's "fitness" to continue serving. To avoid conflicting assessments, disability evaluations and payments would be made solely by the Veterans Affairs Department.
3. Aggressively Prevent and Treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury: The VA and the Defense Department "must work aggressively to reduce the stigma of PTSD" and to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
4. Significantly Strengthen Support for Families: Congress should change the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow up to six months' leave for spouses and parents of seriously injured soldiers.
5. Rapidly Transfer Patient Information Between DoD and VA: The commission proposed the joint development of "My eBenefits," a "one stop" Web site for service members with information on their individual treatments and benefits.
6. Strongly Support Walter Reed by Recruiting and Retaining First-Rate Professionals Through 2011: Though Walter Reed is slated to close in 2011, it must recruit top medical professionals through "tailored incentive packages."