VA system separate from Walter Reed, senator notes

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The problems found at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington do not reflect veterans' healthcare in the United States, according to the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

The healthcare system for veterans is better than ever, said Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), during a hearing Tuesday. He pointed out that Walter Reed is under the direction of the Department of Defense and not the Department of Veterans Affairs. Allegations of deplorable conditions and bureaucracy at the Washington hospital have resulted in the firing of Walter Reed's director and the resignation of the Secretary of the Army.

Meanwhile, President Bush named former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala as co-chairs of a commission that will examine the care wounded veterans receive when they return from war.