A presidential commission on Wednesday urged broad changes to veterans' care that would establish an easy-to-use Web site for medical records, boost benefits for family members helping the wounded and overhaul the way disability pay is awarded.
The nine-member panel, led by former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Donna Shalala, HHS secretary during the Clinton administration, also recommended stronger partnerships between the Pentagon and the private sector to boost treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A 29-page draft report was presented to President Bush in the Oval Office, just after the Senate addressed some of the issues Wednesday morning by passing sweeping legislation to expand brain screenings, reduce red tape and boost military pay.
The commission formally approved the recommendations later in the day.
"Gone will be the days of injured soldiers telling the same information to doctors over and over again," said Shalala, who said the proposals seek to provide more customized and personalized care to injured Iraq war veterans.
The "My eBenefits" Web site, developed jointly by the Veterans Affairs Department and the Pentagon, would allow service members and doctors to access private medical information as the injured move from facility to facility to receive treatment.