CONGRESSMAN JOE DONNELLY VISITS WALTER REED TO SURVEY PROGRESS
On Monday, Congressman Joe Donnelly visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) for the third time. This visit was a follow-up to check progress on repairs to Buildings 11 and 18.
"I was pleased with the progress being made at Walter Reed," Donnelly said. "With regard to Building 18, many of the superficial repairs have been made or are in progress. However, given that WRAMC is scheduled to merge with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda by September 2011, it is not clear at this time if the Army will ever again use this facility to house recovering service members. If the Army does choose to use Building 18 for outpatient housing at any time between now and when the medical centers merge, then we will need to commit whatever resources are necessary to bring buildings like Building 18 up to snuff."
In late February, the Washington Post reported substandard conditions at some of the buildings used to house outpatients at the nation's premier medical facility, focusing on the now infamous Building 18. On March 5th, Donnelly toured outpatient facilities and followed up by sending a letter to Acting Secretary of the Army Peter Geren and General Eric Schoomaker, the new commander of Walter Reed, detailing problems found not only in Building 18 but also Building 11.
During this most recent visit to WRAMC, General Schoomaker gave Donnelly a personal tour of Building 11 to point out improvements that have been made to address the concerns the congressman had previously raised. Repairs underway include improvements in room and bathroom ventilation, new paint, and a program to upgrade the building's heating, ventilation and central air conditioning system.
"The fact that General Schoomaker personally guided my tour demonstrates to me that the Army is taking the situation at Walter Reed seriously," Donnelly said. "It's unfortunate that the situation deteriorated as far as it did. But, it's looking like the Army is working hard to correct the problems. However, Congress must continue to work with the Army to see that this never happens again."