Thursday, March 08, 2007

 

Government Contracts; Civilian Contractors; Bush and Cheney up to their usual corrupt tricks

Waxman to Force Walter Reed Ex-Chief to Talk About Problems, Contract
March 02, 2007 3:42 PM
Justin Rood and Anna Schecter Report:
A powerful Democratic congressman is challenging the Pentagon, which is attempting to block the former chief of Walter Reed Army Medical Center from testifying before Congress next week.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Henry Waxman, D-Calif., wants to ask Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman about a contract to manage the medical center awarded to a company that had documented troubles fulfilling a government contract to deliver ice to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Pentagon has refused to allow Weightman to testify. Waxman's staff has confirmed the congressman planned to issue his first subpoena as a committee chairman this session to legally compel Weightman's testimony if the Pentagon did not relent.

According to a letter from Waxman to Weightman posted today on the committee's Web site, the chairman believes the Walter Reed contract may have pushed dozens of health care workers to leave jobs at the troubled medical center, which he says in turn threatened the quality of care for hundreds of military personnel receiving treatment there.

Weightman had been slated to testify before Congress on Monday. The Army has tried to withdraw him from the hearing. Waxman's office confirmed the congressman plans to force the officer to appear by issuing a subpoena for his testimony.

Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage.
The Army did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter. A call to Weightman's home went unanswered. [He has probably been ordered not to speak to the press.WA]

In the letter, Waxman charged that the Army used an unusual process to award a five-year, $120 million contract to manage the center to a company owned by a former executive of Halliburton, the scandal-prone government contractor once operated by Vice President Dick Cheney.

In 2004, the Army determined that Walter Reed's federal employees could operate the medical center more efficiently than IAP Worldwide Services, which is operated by the former Halliburton executive, Al Neffgen, Waxman wrote. After IAP protested, the Army "unilaterally" increased the employees' estimated costs by $7 million, making IAP appear cheaper, Waxman said. Rules barred Walter Reed employees from appealing the decision, Waxman wrote, and in January 2006 the Army gave the contract to IAP.

According to an internal memo written by a senior Walter Reed administrator and obtained by Waxman, the decision to outsource to IAP led the center's skilled personnel to leave Walter Reed "in droves," fearing they would be laid off when the contractor took over. In the last year, Waxman found, over 250 of 300 government employees left the center. The lack of staffing put patient care "at risk of mission failure," warned an internal Army memo obtained by the congressman.

Some of the problems recently revealed at Walter Reed "may be attributable to a lack of skilled government technicians on staff," Waxman wrote in the letter.

In a prepared statement, IAP spokeswoman Arlene Mellinger said that currently "there are no critical shortages of employees or skills in any area" of Walter Reed. On Feb. 4, the first day of its contract, 290 IAP employees were at the center, she said; that number is now 305. IAP "looks forward to applying its experience and knowledge of facility maintenance" to support Walter Reed, the statement read.

A message left at the home number belonging to IAP head Al Neffgen was not immediately returned.

Update: Since this report was published, the Pentagon has reversed its position and is allowing Weightman to testify before Waxman's panel on Monday. An earlier version of this post stated Waxman had issued a subpoena to compel Weightman's testimony; in fact, Waxman had threatened to do so, but the Pentagon changed its stance before such a subpoena was issued.

» Click Here for More of the Brian Ross Page

March 2, 2007 Permalink User comments
User Comments
General Weightman may have "ministerial responsibility" but he has only been in his post since August of 2006. Is he the fall guy for a more fundamental problem than General Weightman's leadership

Posted by: Bill Schecter Mar 2, 2007 4:57:04 PM

It is simply appalling to me that the military establishment and this administration currently in power in this great County of ours can spend billions of dollars to bomb and destroy a former functioning country back to the middle ages, but they resist and make excuses to spend billions of dollars to provide sorely needed and sufficient medical care to those brave men and women who are sacrificing their lives at the direction of the President.

There has to be some accountability in this country by the individuals in charge and we need to cease giving contracts to anyone associated with Halliburton. I don't know about anyone else, but I consider this inexcusable and those who knew about this should be put in prison, not just allowed to retire from the military and collect a pension on our tax dollars. THIS IS A DISGRACE and they should all be ashamed.
Posted by: Kathy Mar 2, 2007 5:08:18 PM

Of course they don't want him to testify, they just fired him for problems that occured long before he took the job. They are afraid he will tell the truth now that he was used as a scapegoat. Congressman Waxman is on the right track. I'm sure if they looked overall into the Army Contracting out policies they would find many irregularities. By the way, Gen. Kiley should resign as the Walter Reed problems all started while he was the Commander.
Posted by: Pyrofyter Mar 2, 2007 5:26:13 PM

The testimony shouldn't be allowed to be blocked. Blocking action indicates knowledge of guilt. Everyone involved should be in prison.
Posted by: jj Mar 2, 2007 10:34:49 PM
Waxman is on the right track. Next week is going to be soooooooo interesting.
Posted by: DA Mar 3, 2007 10:55:33 AM

Democrats are for people, while Republicans are for profit. I am not surprized they are privatizing the care for wounded warriors, just dissapointed.
Posted by: Oilfieldguy Mar 3, 2007 4:07:58 PM

"...the Army used an unusual process to award a five-year, $120 million contract to manage the center to a company owned by a former executive of Halliburton, the scandal-prone government contractor once operated by Vice President Dick Cheney."
That about says it all. Cheney strikes again. When are these evil creeps Bush and Cheney going to be impeached and left to rot in prison...where they belong?
America is waiting.
Posted by: Jack Mar 3, 2007 5:31:46 PM

Kiley should be the guy testifying before Congress. I believe he was at Walter Reed when they awarded the contract in January 2006. He should also be demoted for denying the problems existed. I feel that was a lie. All it would have taken is unannounced & unscheduled visits with a clipboard and a large box of #2 pencils.
This article pretty much tells us where the disconnect is at Walter Reed. How do you lose 250 of 300 employees, immediately replace them with contractors, and immediately be efficient and up to speed?
And, as far as the troops currently at Walter Reed, I understand there has been a gag order and troops have been ordered to be up and have their area clean by 6am. I certainly hope that has been rescinded. These are wounded and sick military people, not basic trainees.
Posted by: Dave Mar 3, 2007 11:39:37 PM

There are many errors in this one story.
The contract was for base ops and not for medical care. The government workers leaving were not healthcare workers but people in charge of building maintenance. [That's right. Health care workers did not allow the mold to grow, cielings to fall down, roaches and rats to infest the quarters --it was MAINTENANCE!WA]
IAP is a competitor to Halliburton/KBR. Trying to connect Walter Reed to Halliburton because the COO of IAP used to work for Halliburton is specious. [They are buds, silly! The "good ole boy" practise is alive and well.WA]
The memo was written by the garrison commander who worked for Installation Management Command and did not work for Medical Command.
If you look at govexec.com, the A-76 public employee's bid was late and was incomplete. Why should the government award the contract of the government employee when then missed their deadline.
Also, contracting base ops since the 1980's. Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri has been outcoursed since 1985. Fort Belvoir in the DC area was contracted out during the Clinton Administration. [It is still a rotten crime.WA]
Posted by: superdestroyer Mar 4, 2007 8:46:17 AM
You better watch it on C Span, because you'll be lucky if you get a 60 second bite on the MSM.
Posted by: T Geg Mar 4, 2007 11:17:26 AM
can someone tell me what country are we living in where we treat our young heroes like secondary citizen
Posted by: howard Mar 4, 2007 1:16:05 PM
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs is in grave condition regardless of what the politicians are trying to get you to believe.In fact the medical system are geared to deny followup on outpatients to save money and lower disability percentage payments to our Veterans. All claims should be treated with yearly reviews and monthly follow-up for active claims. A person should not be held do to a lack of medical evidence which is denied yearly review, year after year due to a lack of neurosurgeons to make the examinations when., orthopedic surgeons would be even more appropriate to examine the patient. Psych-Social is just another label for "let's see who we can misrepresent next at your V.A.". Dont allow doctors to continue to deny patients needed services because the patient has a lower percentage rating., it is tantamount to terrorism.
Posted by: The Hon. Mark K. Shaver Mar 4, 2007 7:00:57 PM
I work in a hospital that outsourced housekeeping and security services. My experience and that of my co-workers find it demoralizing to lose good team members who are support to the medical caregivers. Support may have been "cheaper" but services were indeed less and everyone including patients is affected. Hospital workers are a totality of caring, and support staff are not robots.
Posted by: bARBARA Mar 4, 2007 8:58:38 PM
I think gen.w.weightman was a powerful congressman.
Posted by: Mrs. Kathy Feng Mar 5, 2007 9:31:42 AM
Unbelieveable! How in the world do you justify relieving Weightman and Harvey resigning and putting Kiley in charge of cleaning up the problem that started with him? He got on national TV and downright said the problem wasn't that bad. Criminal! He is more to blame than any of the others taken to task here. He is the Surgeon General and he is the one ultimately responsible for the Healthcare of our Soldiers. RELIEVE HIM NOW!!!!
Posted by: Selfless Vet Mar 5, 2007 10:50:21 AM
Dear Bloggers
In listening to the Walter Reed hearing by the Representatives. I could hear what any of us who deal with the Hospitals and Medical world is facing as norms. I deal with this as I help my mother and Help my friends with their mothers or father.
The medical world treats everyone –EVERYONE with this neglect and time waiting and misdiagnosis and “Pontius pilot hand washing” and the family is being put more and more of the responsibility to call and contact and even negotiate with the insurances.
Now hearing and knowing the Speeches uttered by the Executive Branch and Rumsfield then hearing how the soldiers are treated and health not budgeted and even having their records of education used as part of their illness and the reason to deny care service and health (aside bar the Executive Branch needs to apology for this treatment not Kerry and his college statement that hurt the moral of the soldiers-because Bush and his recruitment policy is a “promise them “the moon and pray they die in the 5th deployment”. This Branch asks of our neighbors, children what they never could have done themselves and their parents could not make that sacrifice when asked of them).
Posted by: Betty Rose Mar 5, 2007 12:45:56 PM
This is evidence of Rummy n company's only success: plugging his buds into the tax base under the cover of national security. I have heard other horror stories of the rush to contract everything in the military. Its almost a non functional swirling mass of civilian money grubbers riding the backs of taxpayers and military members its barely held together by the dedicated professionals. [HEAR! HEAR! Correct!! WA]
Posted by: Stalindolf Mar 5, 2007 1:33:19 PM
For you goobers that want to turn everything political, the process of contracting out the services in question began under the Clinton administration (2000). [So who says THAT wasn't political, too?]
To those that think Weightman is the goat for Kiley and Kiley's successor (Farmer), sure sounded that way at the hearing today. I think the Congressional panel pretty well figured that out based on the subtle shift in their comments and questioning.
Posted by: Well Seasoned Mar 5, 2007 6:08:19 PM
why do the people in this country think that the pres. and vice pres. can do no wrong. the walter reed and other locations will come to light now that reed has hit the news.this is another company [ halliburton ]who has also been in the news and should of been investigated LONG TIME AGO. what happen NOTHING.the vice pres should of had an investigation done on him when halliburton broke in the news.have the leaders of our counrty been so afraid that these guys just keep rolling along and getting away with this type of corruption. The mighty country isslowing going to hell in a basket.why don't the investigation get to be public coverage and let the people see what is really happening.
Posted by: ed Mar 5, 2007 7:55:52 PM
Congressman Waxman and Steven Lynch should look into a medical device used by the NFL and has been investigated by the regimental surgeon of the U.S.Marines to reduce head injury. Officials at Walter reed have not answered the inquires of a Harvard Mass General researcher. It is widely believed this procedure will benefit the troops, reducing the longterm damage.
Posted by: Mahercor Mar 5, 2007 8:17:37 PM
Why was GEN Peter Schoomaker allowed to recommend that MG Weightman be relieved and then MG Eric Schoomaker (Peter's brother) steps in to command Walter Reed and possibly become the next Army Surgeon General? (Until last week MG Weightman was by far the most likely to be the next Surgeon General.)
Posted by: Old Doc Mar 6, 2007 12:08:44 AM
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