Thursday, March 22, 2007

Army opens hotline for wounded soldiers, families

Told that he would be put on a waiting list after telling an intake counselor he was suicidal at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Jonathan Schulze wrapped a household extension cord around his neck, tied it to a beam in the basement, and hanged himself 4 days later.

The Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline can be reached from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at (800) 984-8523.

Wounded soldiers and their families who have problems related to medical care will be able to report them through a new hotline. Called the Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline, the service was scheduled to go live March 19.

Army leaders established the call center at Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Va., to help wounded troops and family members resolve medical issues and to ensure direct reporting of those issues to senior Army leadership.

HRC officials said the international hotline, a response to the scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is intended not to circumvent the chain of command but to ensure senior leadership is aware of issues that affect wounded soldiers and their families.

“We have designed this call center to be able to collectively hear what the soldiers say about their health care issues, so as issues are raised, we can identify systemic faults or problematic areas and senior leaders can better allocate resources,” Maj. Gen. Sean J. Byrne, HRC commanding general, said in a statement.

Read the rest at Army Times