Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley; a Gutless Wonder
NCOs? WEIGHTMAN? WHAT ABOUT KILEY??
A Step in the Right Direction
03.01.07 A step in the right direction
Posted in Army, Bush Administration, GOP, Government, Military, Medical at 4:47 pm
The general in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center has been fired (or, in Army parlance, “relieved of his command”). Army officials informed Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman this morning that the nation’s oldest military service had “lost trust and confidence in the commander’s leadership abilities to address needed solutions for soldier-outpatient care” at the hospital. Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey made the decision yesterday, Army officials said.
However, Weightman has been at the post for only six months, and he’s certainly not the main problem. Weightman will be replaced by the head of U.S. Army Medical Command, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, for now. Kiley seems to be a much worse problem. For example: In a news conference last week, Kiley, now the Army’s surgeon general, said the problems found in the building “weren’t serious and there weren’t a lot of them.”
That view was strongly contradicted by Gates, who later last week called conditions at building 18 “unacceptable.” Gates said he will hold the responsible officials accountable after he receives the results of a 45-day review, which he said will be released to Congress and the public. “We take this very seriously,” a Pentagon spokeswoman told ABC News today.
Some specific instances of Kiley’s deliberate neglect of the problem: Among those who brought the problems to the attention of Kiley and other Walter Reed and military officials, according to the Post: Steve Robinson, director of veterans affairs at Veterans for America, said he told Kiley in 2003 that “there are people in the barracks who are drinking themselves to death and people who are sharing drugs and not getting the care they need.” Some missed appointments because Walter Reed officials had lost track of them, Robinson said.
Retired Maj. Gen. Kenneth L. Farmer Jr., who commanded Walter Reed for two years before leaving in August, said he was aware of outpatient problems and reported them both to his commander, Kiley, and to his successor, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman.
Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., stopped visiting Walter Reed after voicing his complaints. His wife, Beverly, complained to Kiley that she visited a soldier lying in urine on his mattress. “I went flying down to Kevin Kiley’s office again and got nowhere,” she told the paper. “He has skirted this stuff for five years and blamed everyone else.”
Joe Wilson, a clinical social worker in the psychiatry department, briefed colonels at the hospital about a survey that found 75 percent of outpatients called their experience there “stressful” and many were “unsatisfied, frustrated, disenfranchised.”
Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, asked a staffer during a visit if her husband was seeing only patients handpicked to show the hospital’s good side and was told yes.
In addition to the Defense Department review, the hospital is now in the second day of a two-day inspection by the Joint Commission, a hospital accreditation agency formerly known as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.
“These are serious wounds, and these folks aren’t getting the care they need at Walter Reed, right in the backyard of the capital,” former Lt. Paul Rieckhoff, a veteran and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told CNN. “I think there are a lot of people who work very hard and care very deeply in Walter Reed and also in the [Veterans Administration] hospitals around the country. But what we consistently hear is that they’re under-resourced.” Permalink
Walter Reed Whitewash: Kiley Replacement ‘Demoralizing’ To Hospital Staff
Yesterday’s management shake-up at Walter Reed looks increasingly suspect. The Washington Post reports today that the hospital chief who was relieved of duty, Army Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, is “well respected in the military medical community and well liked among the staff at Walter Reed.” He had been at the hospital for just half a year, and “instituted some changes to improve outpatient care.”
Weightman is being replaced for now by Army surgeon general Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley. As ThinkProgress documented yesterday, Kiley has known for years about the neglect and deplorable conditions at Walter Reed. Kiley was personally told about injured veterans who were “languishing and lost on the grounds,” sharing drugs and “drinking themselves to death,” and reportedly did nothing to address the problems. In one stunning case, Kiley took no action when personally informed that a soldier was sleeping in his own urine.
The Post today cites a defense official saying that Weightman’s firing and his replacement by Kiley “are likely to be demoralizing to the staff at the medical center.” The L.A. Times says Kiley may still be fired:
One military official said the Army was continuing to examine Kiley’s oversight of Walter Reed to determine whether he knew of the problems in the outpatient facilities.
“Those questions are being looked at,” said the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity. “Is this it? We don’t know. Potentially, there could be other heads that roll.”
But in the meantime, why would this man with a long record of neglect be placed back in charge of Walter Reed? The Post’s answer: because “the Army’s reshuffle is really about projecting the appearance of accountability, not punishing those most responsible.”
UPDATE: Both Kiley and Weightman have been called to testify at a hearing on Monday of the House Oversight and Government Reform national security subcommittee. Details HERE.
Filed under: Veterans
Posted by Nico March 2, 2007 9:53 am
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.
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 [more creative bean counter figure juggling.WA]. Rules barred Walter Reed employees from appealing the decision, Waxman wrote, and in January 2006 the Army gave the contract to IAP. [Don't you wonder whose fine hand convinced the Army (Pentagon) to award the contract to a civilian Halliburton bud.WA]
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
Re.Slaughter : Fire Head of Walter Reed
Friday, March 02, 2007 http://americablog.blogspot.com/2007/03/rep-slaughter-fire-head-of-walter-reed.html Rep. Slaughter: Fire head of Walter Reed now by John Aravosis (DC) Chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, Louise Slaughter (D-NY), has just written to the Secretary of Defense calling on him to fire the temporary head of Walter Reed, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley. Kiley headed Walter Reed for two years while our injured veterans suffered, with his knowledge, and he is the man who GOP Congressman Bill Young's wife says she told about a soldier sleeping in his own urine - Kiley reportedly didn't do a thing about it.
Army's Top Medical Officer Grilled by Angry Lawmakers
Surgeon General Kiley taken to task over care of injured soldiers
Army's top medical officer grilled by angry lawmakers
Surgeon General Kiley is taken to task over care of injured soldiers
By Adam Schreck Originally published March 8, 2007 WASHINGTON //
On frequent trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Rep. C.W. Bill Young said he and his wife found wounded soldiers who didn't have adequate clothes, even one doing his rehabilitation in the bloody boots he had on when he was injured. One soldier, ashamed that his mattress was soaked with urine, tried to turn Young's wife away, the Florida Republican recalled yesterday. Another with a serious brain injury fell out of bed and hit his head three times before someone was assigned to make sure it didn't happen again.
On the third day of hearings on Walter Reed, Young told Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, the Army's top medical officer, and other brass that he repeatedly took his concerns to officials. He didn't raise them in public, he said, because he didn't want to undermine patients' confidence or the military. But now he and other lawmakers want answers.
'Failing our soldiers'
And there's no one they hold more accountable than Kiley, who led the military's premier hospital from 2002 to 2004. "While we have dedicated people, they're working in a system that is failing our soldiers," said Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, at the first of two hearings in which Kiley testified yesterday. Calling Walter Reed "just the tip of the iceberg," Murray detailed fresh reports of poor treatment at a military hospital in Washington state. "General Kiley, you're in charge of this system. I hold you accountable," she said. "I'm here today because I want answers."
Concerns about Walter Reed came to light after articles in The Washington Post that pointed to gaps in treatment and poor conditions in some facilities on the sprawling hospital campus, in particular an outpatient residential facility known as Building 18. Kiley, who is the Army surgeon general, has told lawmakers that he was unaware of specific problems in Building 18. He said in response to questions yesterday that he had become aware of other problems at the hospital during and after his tenure there and had acted to remedy them. But, he acknowledged, he had not done enough. "I did fail," Kiley said. "I should have been more engaged."
In testimony this week, Kiley has sought to reassure lawmakers that physical problems such as mold growth and broken fixtures are being addressed. The last patient in Building 18 was scheduled to move out last night, he said. Meanwhile, Kiley said, administrators are adding staff and reworking procedures to help ease the transition from hospital to outpatient care, where most of the problems have been. The scandal has cost two high-ranking officials their jobs - the Army secretary and the hospital commander. [Now that the scandal has broken and his indifference is exposed, remedies are coming fast and furious.WA]
Some lawmakers questioned Kiley's leadership style yesterday and asked whether he, too, should be relieved of his command. At the White House, former Sen. Bob Dole, a Kansas Republican, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala, who were appointed Tuesday to lead a commission to study military and veteran medical care, met with President Bush.
"He made it very clear that if one soldier doesn't get high-quality treatment and isn't transitioned back into civilian life or back into the military, that's unacceptable," Shalala said, adding that she could sense the president's "anger and his anxiousness that we move as quickly as possible." Dole said the president planned to play an active role in the commission's work.
Serious matters After the meeting, Bush said, "Any report of medical neglect will be taken seriously by this administration [and], I'm confident, by the Congress, and we will address problems quickly." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, expressed support yesterday for the commission. But they called on Bush to consult Congress on the committee's makeup and urged the president to include troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and their family members on the commission.
Meanwhile, the investigation on Capitol Hill will continue. As he closed a House hearing at which Kiley faced heated questioning, Rep. John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, assured fellow lawmakers, "This is not the end of the story."
Adam Schreck writes for the Los Angeles Times.
Kiley Blames ‘Junior Level’ Leadership For Walter Reed Scandal
At today’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, who oversaw Walter Reed until 2004 and remains Army surgeon general, admitted that the condition in Building 18 was “clearly unacceptable,” but again denied responsibility for it. He blamed the neglect on “a failure of leadership at the junior level in that building.”
Kiley’s attempts to shift blame contrasts with the statements of other senior military officials:
From what I have learned, the problems at Walter Reed appear to be problems of leadership. The Walter Reed doctors, nurses and other staff are among the best and the most caring in the world. [Defense Secretary Robert Gates, 3/2/07]
The senior Army leadership takes full responsibility for the lack of quality of life at Building 18, and we’re going to fix it. [Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army vice chief of staff, 2/21/07]
We failed here, we failed in having a facility like this. Unfortunately, it’s a leadership problem. [Then-Army Secretary Francis Harvey, 2/20/07]
CNN HOST: Those Washington Post articles, by the way, that first shed light on the problems, were the issue of some tough questioning for Lt. Gen. Kiley, who’s the Army surgeon general and a former commander at Walter Reed, accused of perhaps minimizing the problems by complaining about the stories. He said today, that he wasn’t talking about the original articles, but some of the articles that suggested that he might be responsible because he commanded Walter Reed back in 2002 to 2004.
[KILEY ]: My concern that the issues in Building 18 — which were clearly unacceptable, clearly unacceptable, and were a failure of leadership at the junior level in that building.
Posted by Amanda March 5, 2007 5:26 pm
FLASHBACK: In 2005, Kiley Covered Up Abuse At Military Detention Centershttp://thinkprogress.org/2007/03/05/kiley-abuse
Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley commanded Walter Reed from 2002-2004. Recent reports show that Kiley knew about the neglect and deplorable conditions there for years. In one stunning case, Kiley took no action when personally informed that a soldier was sleeping in his own urine. He continues to skirt responsibility for the neglect, calling the Washington Post’s Walter Reed investigation “yellow journalism at its worst.”
But this scandal isn’t the first time Kiley has tried to play down “allegations of concerns with the Army medical community.” In 2005, his office conducted a review of medical personnel overseas, after multiple reports alleging their roles in detainee abuse.
– A report in the New England Journal of Medicine found that “U.S. Army doctors violated the Geneva Conventions by helping intelligence officers carry out abusive interrogations at military detention centers, perhaps participating in torture.”
– A 2004 study in The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, found that medical personnel “collaborated with interrogators or abusive guards and failed to properly report injuries or deaths caused by beatings.”
In a July 7 press conference, Kiley denied these reports and gave the system a positive review:
We found no evidence of systemic problems in detainee medical care. … And so in summary, the assessment results demonstrate that the nation can be proud of our military medical professionals. We have a dedicated team of them working every day to provide quality health care for each patient they treat, whether a U.S. service member, coalition troop or detainee. The assessment clearly demonstrates that military medical professionals reported suspected abuse in the overwhelming majority of cases.
But as the Wasington Post notes, Kiley failed to “mention that his office found serious flaws in detainee health care overseas, and that it had identified dozens of abuse cases.” He also admitted that his office never actually spoke to detainees. The report, released the day after Kiley’s press conference, “showed that there were major gaps in detainee care and that there was little official guidance on how to treat detainees.”
Despite these inexcusable cover-ups, Kiley continues to serve as the Army’s surgeon general.
Filed under: Veterans
Posted by Amanda March 5, 2007 12:31 pm
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Results1 - 10 of about 32 for kileys responsibility for scandal at walter reed vet care - 0.88 sec. (About this page)WEB RESULTSThink Progress " Kiley Blames Junior Level' Leadership For Walter Reed ...Kiley Blames Junior Level' Leadership For Walter Reed Scandal ... care actually apologize for complaining of sublevel conditions at Walter Reed. ...thinkprogress.org/2007/03/05/kiley-junior - 60
... Chair scolds DOD for punishing maimed vets who helped expose Walter Reed scandal ... in leadership for problems with outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical ...americablog.blogspot.com/search/label/Walter Reed - More from this site
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... of a scandal surrounding care for wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical ... Our nation has no higher responsibility than to care for the brave men and women ...tailrank.com/1418256/Lieberman-To-Deliver-Democratic-Address - 152k - Cached - More from this site
... the Walter Reed contract may have pushed dozens of health care workers to ... Weightman is the goat for Kiley and Kiley's successor (Farmer), sure sounded ...blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/03/waxman_to_force.html - 47k - Cached - More from this site
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Labels: veterans medical care - kiley
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