USMC Wounded Warrior Treatment Program


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"Terrible medical care, long delays in service, and soldiers who felt like they were in a “petting zoo”: Those are just some of the issues identified in a Department of Defense Inspector General report issued March 30th on the Wounded Warrior Regiment.

Founded in 2007 as a way to help guide wounded Marines and sailors towards accepting and living with their injuries, the WWR has supported nearly 27,377 wounded, ill, and injured Marines. With camps throughout the country, WWR is among the leading groups in rehabbing both injured service members and their families.

But it has been seriously shortchanged by the Marines, according to the IG’s report. Both staff and service members undergoing treatment had a litany of complaints. Some beefed that they were forced to endure visits from VIPs, nonprofit groups and reporters looking for “visibly wounded” Marines with whom they could talk. One said he felt like he was in a “petting zoo.”

Prescriptions were poorly monitored and frequently given in excessive quantities, creating a potential for drug misuse.

The health care privacy act known as HIPPA was not respected at one location, causing medical information to be passed around loosely.

But the overarching problem highlighted in the report is the length of time it takes service members to be cleared to leave WWR facilities.

At one location, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Warriors spent an average of 730 days — two full years — before being discharged.

More than a fifth of the wounded service members at that location spent three years there, sometimes just waiting for paperwork to be processed.

Some Marines had to wait three months for neurological exams, and then wait again to get a pain management appointment.