Wounded vets get promise of better care at Madigan

Leaders at the Army post and Madigan Army Medical Center signed a covenant Wednesday reaffirming their commitment to deliver the best possible care to wounded soldiers, a move that comes as thousands of Fort Lewis soldiers are set for deployments that will put them in harm's way.

The signing occurred on the second anniversary of The Washington Post's publication of the first in a series of stories exposing the shoddy living conditions and bureaucracy facing soldiers receiving outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The fallout from the stories prompted a transformation in how the Army cares for its wounded, including at Madigan.

It comes as about 10,000 soldiers at Fort Lewis are preparing to deploy to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq this spring and summer.

Maj. Gen. Patricia Horoho said satisfaction with the care received by the soldiers in the unit has increased to 80 percent and that officials continue to listen to them and their family members to make improvements. There's still work to be done, she said.

"This covenant is the Army's oath to keep that promise to those entrusted in our care," she said.

In January 2007, Madigan activated its Warrior Transition Unit, the successor to medical hold companies in which soldiers recover until they can return to duty or are medically discharged. About 200 staff members in the unit care for 450 active-duty, National Guard and Reserve soldiers.

It is one of about 40 Warrior Transition Units activated throughout the Army.

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