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Hon. Russ Carnahan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Missouri

Chairwoman Buerkle, Ranking Member Michaud, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for hosting this hearing to discuss expansion and revision of the Federal Recovery Coordination Program (FRCP). Providing support to those who were injured or became ill in service to our country is of paramount importance. Today’s hearing facilitates a conversation between Congress and those with knowledge of what needs to be done to ensure our nation’s heroes receive the most expedient and effective assistance in their time of need.

In 2007, following reports of poor outpatient care from Walter Reed Medical Center, the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) jointly created FRCP to coordinate clinical and nonclinical services for recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of wounded, ill or severely injured service members and Veterans. While the program continues to expand, practices must be reviewed to ensure that our service members and Veterans across the country uniformly receive the best care possible.

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found concern with the client referral system employed by FRCP. Eligible patients are not being identified in existing DOD and VA databases because records are currently not coded to classify veterans and service members as “severely wounded, ill, and injured.” The program relies solely on referrals to identify qualified individuals. Also, FRCP is understaffed and there is no current system to place new hires and delegate caseload. Additionally, FRCP has been confronted with problems in communicating patient information from DOD and VA facilities to supporting organizations.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on ways we can overcome challenges facing the Federal Recovery Coordination Program and expand services to ensure comprehensive care for our Nation’s heroes.