Letters to the Editor

'The price of freedom'

I agree with Ursula Fedak (letter March 3): Our returning military should "get the best" care. As a former Army officer, I'm deeply troubled by the Washington Post's report on Walter Reed Army Hospital, now being vigorously reviewed and, I'm sure, soon corrected.

Ms. Fedak may not realize the hospital is not under the control of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but rather the Department of Defense.

Since the war began in 2003, the VA, like military medicine, has adapted rapidly and in most cases successfully to a new type and large number of injuries. VA's nationwide system added four major Polytrauma Centers and 17 regional centers. Mental health programs have expanded rapidly. Already a nationally recognized leader in health care, VA strives daily to improve.

VA Central California Healthcare System and the Vet Center are aggressive participants in this transition. More than 2,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been treated. Thirteen new mental health clinicians will join a superb staff that ranks us among the top 20 VA's for quality and satisfaction.

This is a large, at times imperfect, system committed to caring for the Valley's newest generation of returning heroes. The price of freedom is visible here.

Al Perry

Director

VA Central California Healthcare System

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