Army says it's fixing medical care

Jan. 21, 2004 at 6:56 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Pentagon officials said Wednesday they will improve care for soldiers in "medical hold" at U.S. Army bases.

The solutions include moving ill soldiers from steamy cement barracks without running water into nearby hotels, adding more doctors and setting aside $77 million to improve conditions.

"We recognize that last fall, we temporarily lost sight of the situation," Daniel Denning, an assistant secretary of the Army, told the House Total Force Subcommittee.

United Press International first reported last October that more than 1,000 National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers at Fort Stewart and Fort Knox, including hundreds who served in Iraq, were waiting weeks and months in "medical hold" to see doctors. At Fort Stewart in Georgia, many waited in hot concrete barracks with no air-conditioning or running water.

Col. Keith Armstrong, garrison commander at Fort Knox, told the committee "we were stretched pretty thin" last fall.

Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. John M. Kidd said, "We recognized that we had some difficulty here. We recognized that we had a problem with medical hold."

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