The vast majority of severely wounded U.S. service members receiving health care from the Military Health System say it is on the right track in providing medical care, and is doing all it can and should be doing to provide them such care, a new Zogby International survey shows.
The poll of 435 U.S. military personnel wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan shows 77% are satisfied the Military Health System is doing all it can to meet their health care needs, and 58% said their trust and confidence in the system has increased since they began receiving medical treatment for their wounds.
The older the respondent, the more likely they were to have increased confidence in the health system.
A wide majority of the uniformed personnel across all age demographic groups agreed the Military Health System is doing all it should be doing to meet their needs. Among men, 78% agreed, while 69% of women said it is doing all it should be doing. Those service members who had been home longer from their deployment were more likely to feel the Military Health System was doing all it should be doing to meet their needs. Among those who had been home six months or less, 64% said they believed the system was doing all it could. But 84% of those who had been home between 19-24 months, and 93% of those who had been home 25-36 months were much more pleased with the health care they were receiving, saying they thought the system was doing all it should be doing.
The telephone poll of 435 severely wounded personnel was conducted on Feb. 27, 2008. It carries a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points.
The survey shows that while a majority of all age groups were more satisfied and confident in the Military Health System, the older the service member, the more satisfied they were. Among those age 18-35, 55% said their trust and confidence in the system was improving. Fifty-nine percent of those age 35-44 and 79% of those age 45-54 said the same. The survey shows that those who had returned home from deployment within the last six months were least likely to feel their trust and confidence in the health system had increased, but over time that trust and confidence grows, and then dissipates somewhat among those home longer than 3 ½ years.
The survey respondents were all members of Warrior Transition Units who required at least six months of complex medical care. These units, established in June, 2007, were designed to more effectively deal with such health care needs. The formation of the Warrior Transition Units came after a report in the Washington Post of poor conditions for some injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.
Asked about whether they believed conditions had improved since those widely publicized reports, 71% said they think the Military Health System in now on the right track, while 10% said it is off on the wrong track. Another 19% said they were unsure.
Among enlisted personnel, 69% said they think the Military Health System in on the right track since the Walter Reed reports, compared to 76% of officers who said the same thing. A majority of the injured service members said their expectations for recovery have increased since they returned from their deployment - 55% said their expectations have improved.
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