GAO reports: Government Reform Hearing
- Dear ReadersThe hearing was a big disppointment, but not a surprise.None the less, Shays did acknowledge putting DSBR'smaterials into the record. Which covers much of whatI will be pushing in the coming weeks.Venus, and I are transcribing the tapes of the meeting sowe wont comment just yet.I did confront Mike Kilpatrick on the Centcom medical surveyof 69,875 troops in Dec 1990.Of Which:The Whitehouse has a copy of the request forwardedGovernment Reform has a copy of the request on recordNARA has a copy of the request on recordSecurity Review has a copy of the FOIA sent inCentcom has a copy of the requestDODIG has a copy of the requestEtc.Mike said they would have a response for me tomorrow, ofwhich I doubt. But, I will stay after the House/Senate committee'suntil its finally released. This cant be glossed over much longer, themedia has now taken a interest in this.There are two GAO reports released today:Meryl commented on 903t below.More to follow....SincerelyKirt P. LoveDirector, DSBR----- Original Message -----From: Meryl NassSent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005 6:19 PMSubject: Today's GAO report re surveillance for medical/ environmental risks of deployment(Shays' hearing today involved lessons learned from GW 1 and how GW 2 soldiers were to be protected better.
Unfortunately, not a lot appears to have been learned.--Nass)
Defense Health Care: Occupational and Environmental Health Surveillance Conducted During Deployments Needs Improvement, by Marcia Crosse, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, House Committee on Government Reform. GAO-05-903T, July 19.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d05903thigh.pdf
"...While DOD’s risk management efforts during OIF represent a positive step in helping to mitigate potential environmental and occupational risks of deployment, the lack of systematic monitoring of the deployed military services’ implementation activities prevents full knowledge of their effectiveness. Therefore, we recommended that the military services jointly establish and implement procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of risk management efforts. DOD partially concurred with our recommendation and stated that it has procedures in place to evaluate OEHS risk management through a jointly established and implemented lessons learned process. However, in further discussions, DOD officials told us that they were not aware of any lessons learned reports related to OEHS risk management for OIF.
Furthermore, although OEHS reports alone are not sufficient to identify the causes of potential long-term health effects in deployed servicemembers, they are an integral component of research to evaluate the long-term health of deployed servicemembers. However, efforts by a joint DOD and VA working group to develop a federal research plan for OIF that would include examining the effects of potential exposure to occupational and environmental health hazards have just begun, despite similarities in deployment location to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. As a result, we recommended that DOD and VA work together to develop a federal research plan to follow the health of servicemembers deployed in support of OIF that would include the use of archived OEHS reports. DOD partially concurred with our recommendation, and VA concurred. The difference in VA and DOD’s responses to this recommendation illustrates a disconnect between each agency’s understanding of whether and how such a federal research plan should be established. Therefore, continued collaboration between the agencies to formulate a mutually agreeable process for proactively creating a federal research plan would be beneficial in facilitating both agencies’ ability to anticipate and understand the potential long-term health effects related to OIF deployment versus taking a more reactive stance in waiting to see what types of health problems may surface.
Mr. Chairman, this completes my prepared statement. I would be happy to respond to any question you or other Members of the Subcommittee may have at this time. "
Meryl Nass, MD
Mount Desert Island Hospital
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
207 288-5081 ext. 220