|By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
|WASHINGTON, April 30, 2009 – The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are working together to address the needs of wounded warriors, defense officials told the House Armed Services Committee yesterday.Gail H. McGinn, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, charted what she called the “lines of action” the departments are following to improve care for servicemembers wounded in action.McGinn said one effort is to develop and establish a joint disability evaluation system for the Defense Department and VA “using one integrated disability rating system that is seamless, transparent and administered jointly by both departments,” she said. “That system must remain flexible to evolve and update as trends in injuries and supporting medical documentation and treatment necessitates.”Servicemembers had complained bitterly about the time taken under the dual-department system. This action serves to streamline the transition process for the servicemembers leaving the Defense Department system for the VA, McGinn said.
The second line of action looks at traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. McGinn said those working this line are addressing “improvements in consistency and capability surrounding TBI and psychological health across the full continuum of care within [the Defense Department] and VA.” Defense and VA officials are working together on research into the injuries and ways to continuously improve methods of care, she added.