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Friday, August 26, 2005

All Headline News - Federal Commission Votes To Close Renowned Military Hospital - August 26, 2005

All Headline News - Federal Commission Votes To Close Renowned Military Hospital - August 26, 2005Federal Commission Votes To Close Renowned Military Hospital

August 25, 2005 12:30 p.m. EST

Hector Duarte Jr. - All Headline News Staff Reporter

Washington, DC (AHN) - A federal commission votes to close one of the top Army hospitals, as it begins its second day of deliberations on plans to restructure U.S. military bases.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC has treated presidents and foreign leaders, as well as veterans and soldiers, including those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Pentagon Plan will relocate hospital staff and services from Walter Reed to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland in order to create an expanded facility, as well as a regional hospital at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.

The commission says kids coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan deserve to have up-to-date medical care, citing the hospital as old and in need of modernization.

Costs, including construction and renovations, would total $989 million. The commission cites the Pentagon would save $301 million over 20 years. The revamped facility will be renamed Walter Reed. The current hospital counts about 185 beds, while the expanded facility would house 340.

Later Thursday, the nine-member panel is slated to begin debating the Air Force's plans, as it steamrolls through hundreds of Pentagon proposals at a steady pace, following four months of study and preparation.

Commission Chairman Anthony Principi says he expects to finish the voting no later than Friday. The commission must send a final report to President Bush by September 8.

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