WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Sen. Robert Dole said Wednesday the military medical system fails veterans after their immediate injuries are treated.
President Bush formally named Dole and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala to head a bi-partisan panel investigating U.S. military hospitals.
Dole, who suffered a severe wound in combat in World War II, said the system appears to do a good job treating injuries but fails to provide adequate aftercare and rehabilitation, The New York Times reported.
Bush announced the panel following news stories about poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. The Washington Post reported outpatients undergoing long-term treatment are living in poor conditions and are often caught in a bureaucratic morass as they try to get the services they need.
Dole said in World War II when soldiers were wounded, "they treated you and sent you home." But he said the military medical system needs to help wounded veterans make the transition to civilian life.
"If we come up with good suggestions, we could change the system over the next 30 years," Dole said.