Ellmers says military healthcare failings 'shameful'

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Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) on Wednesday welcomed news of the Pentagon’s review of the military healthcare system but warned “many serious problems” remain.

“Over the past month we have uncovered numerous reports of a nationwide failure in regards to the healthcare and support of veterans and the men and women who fight for our country,” Ellmers said in a statement. “This is shameful and must be addressed immediately.”

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the 90-day examination after the Army removed the commander and three top deputies at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, N.C, following reports that two patients unexpectedly died in the past two weeks. The base is partially located in Ellmers’s district.

Ellmers, who last week voted in favor of the Veterans Affairs Management Act, said the initial press reports should “shock and outrage not only the Fort Bragg community, but the nation as a whole.”

The DOD review comes as the Veterans Affairs Department conducts its own investigation into allegations of systematic fraud at VA facilities across the country. The interim findings of that assessment, which examined a Phoenix treatment center, were released Wednesday.

Ellmers is co-sponsoring legislation that would require the VA inspector general to submit a list of names for each VA manager who found not to be fulfilling his or her duties.