WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today praised the collaboration between the Augusta VA Medical Center and the Eisenhower Army Medical Center to care for service members returning from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom who have sustained combat injuries.
Isakson’s remarks came during a hearing on cooperation between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to meet the health care needs of returning service members. Isakson is a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
The Augusta VA Medical Center operates the nation’s only medical rehabilitation unit within the VA system for active duty military personnel. Dr. Dennis Hollins, who works for the VA, heads the unit, and active duty medical personnel are stationed in the unit working alongside VA doctors and nurses.
“The Augusta VA Medical Center is a great story about how collaboration and coordination and this idea of a seamless transition from the Department of Defense to Veterans’ Affairs can work,” Isakson said during the hearing. “Dr. Hollins and his staff have done a phenomenal job.”
As of January 2007, 431 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have received rehabilitation services at the unit, and 26 percent of those treated have been able to return to active duty.
The medical staff from Augusta VA Medical Center and the Eisenhower Army Medical Center meets weekly to discuss future patient cases for the Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit.
“We want to see to it that the treatment of every veteran and active duty soldier is the best that it can be,” Isakson said. “Initiatives like the partnership between Augusta VA Medical Center and Eisenhower Army Medical Center will help us achieve that goal.”
Isakson also took the opportunity to praise the work of Maj. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, who was named head of Walter Reed Army Medical Center on March 2. Schoomaker previously served as commander of the Eisenhower Army Medical Center and was instrumental in the creation of the Active Duty Rehab Unit during his time at Ft. Gordon.