WASHINGTON, March 2 (UPI) -- President Bush is appointing a special panel to thoroughly review the medical care of wounded service personnel, the White House said Friday.
The president will formally announce his intention for the bipartisan panel on Saturday in his weekly radio address.
"On hearing the reports about Walter Reed (Army Medical Center), I asked Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to assess the situation firsthand and report back to me," he will say. "He confirmed that there are real problems at Walter Reed, and he has taken action to hold people accountable, including relieving the general in charge of the facility.
"As we work to improve conditions at Walter Reed, we are also taking steps to find out whether similar problems have occurred at other military and veteran hospitals."
Bush's prepared remarks were released Friday by the White House.
The move follows news reports that documented wounded troops living in squalid conditions in an outpatient housing unit at the military hospital in Washington. The general in charge of the facility was relieved of command Thursday, and Gates announced establishment of an independent review panel to assess outpatient treatment at the hospital and also at the National Naval Medical Center in suburban Maryland.
White House deputy spokeswoman Dana Perino said Friday the president's commission would be broader, covering all military and veterans hospitals around the country.
"The review will examine their treatment from the time they leave the battlefield through their return to civilian life as veterans, so that we can assure that we're meeting their physical and mental needs," she said.
Repairs are already underway at the outpatient housing unit at Walter Reed.