Saturday, September 15, 2007

When Johnny Comes Limping Home

The Washington Post continues covering the treatment of wounded war veterans today. What stands out in today's story is how little has been accomplished in the six months or so since the first stories appeared. Particularly noticeable is the duplication of processes and procedures between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs both of which have their own detailed medical/disability evaluations and determinations.

This duplication may be one of the most obvious examples of waste in government since the same information can be used in both military and veterans decisions. Apparently, the two departments each believe they operate a unique system that should be entirely under their own control. The effect is to create a bureaucratic maze with multiple opportunities for misinformation, error and delay that wears down the men and women who need treatment and support.

The simple solution would be for the two departments to coordinate procedures so that each can rely on the information provided by the other. Even better would be a single system for evaluating wounded soldiers and veterans. Reducing the duplication would free up some resources to address the massive backlog both departments face in dealing with the consequences of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course, we are talking CheneyBush and bureaucratic interests here. Don't hold your breath.