Improvements suggested for veterans' care

July 29, 2007 at 4:31 PM

WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- A report on U.S. veterans healthcare isn't an indictment of the system but a possible blueprint for fixing the problems found, two of the authors say.

The Wounded Warriors Commission, led by former Health And Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and former Sen. Bob Dole, presented its report to President George Bush last week. The panel suggests the veterans healthcare system be "more patient-centered as opposed to focusing on the systems and the bureaucracy," Shalala said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Dole said problems uncovered weren't with in-hospital care; "it was when they got into outpatient status and the bureaucracy and things of that kind."

The report seeks to simplify the system through recommendations "that are doable," Shalala said. The bulk of the recommendations could be handled by the administration, while a few would require congressional action, she added.

Dole said the non-partisan commission would take Bush at his word that he would follow through with the Defense Department and the Veterans Administration "and these things are going to happen by executive order or whatever it takes are going to happen."

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