Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement after Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the resignation of Army Secretary Francis Harvey:

            “First-hand accounts and news reports of conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s outpatient facilities are deeply disturbing, and in this instance the buck stops with Army Secretary Harvey.  Accountability is paramount in leadership, and I commend him for taking responsibility for the problems at Walter Reed. 

The House Armed Services Committee will be holding a hearing next Thursday to examine the situation at Walter Reed specifically and problems related to soldiers in medical hold situations generally. From what we know so far, the quality of medical care is not at fault.  We have dedicated and professional doctors, nurses and health care practitioners who deliver outstanding care.  The problems are bureaucratic in nature and demand a leadership that is committed to providing our wounded warriors and their families with the care and respect they have earned and Americans demand that they receive.

The media has also reported that the President will soon announce the creation of a new bipartisan commission to study the health care provided to wounded soldiers and veterans.  The transition from the military health care system to the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system is a critical element of a service member’s recovery.  Congress will be working on initiatives to improve this transition and I look forward to working with the President to better serve those who have sacrificed so much for our country.”