Reports of disrespectful and abusive care at Warrior Transition Units have emerged, but the Army's surgeon general said Friday that the Army has gotten out in front of the media reports, and that investigations show the problem is not systemic.
News outlets in Dallas reported in November that hundreds of soldiers had suffered a pattern of "disrespect, harassment and belittlement of soldiers" at WTUs at Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, and Fort Sam Houston in Texas.This comes on the heels of another incident at a medical facility (not a WTU) at Fort Carson, Colorado, that had led to discipline against a physician and a social worker for actions dating to early 2014.
Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army surgeon general, affirmed that while even one case of abuse isn't tolerable, most of the complaints turned out not to be medical care-related and about 24 cases of harassment have been dealt with. And she said the reports documented issues that the Army already uncovered itself.
"They weren't concerns that an outside source came to us and said do you realize you have these problems," Horoho said at a round-table update on her command for members of the media at the Pentagon on Friday. "We have eight different avenues (for) our warriors and their family members to have their voices heard. When those concerns come up, each of them is looked at and then we take appropriate action."
She cited high patient satisfaction rates with both WTUs and behavioral health in general, and the reports themselves noted that many soldiers expressed such sentiments.
"I think you will probably see a decrease in the number of Warrior Transition Units, with always having the caveat of needing expandability," Horoho said. "Because it's a concept we are going to keep, so should we find ourselves in another conflict, we're going to need to be able to expand."
"Now we've got leaders, one of the generals told his soldiers, sleep is like bullets for your brain. You never go to battle with an empty magazine," she said. "If you get six hours of sleep or less six days in a row, or go 24 hours without sleep, you have 20 percent cognitive impairment, and you are operating as if you had a .08 BAC [blood alcohol content]. We would never let a soldier in our formation intoxicated."