Officials: Army hospital chief relieved of command

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 28, 2014 at 9:53 am •  Published: May 28, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The chief of an Army medical center has been relieved of his command because of problems with patient care, and the Pentagon has ordered a review of its health care system, defense officials said.

The commander was replaced Tuesday at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and three deputies were suspended, the Army said in a statement.

The shake-up comes after two deaths this month of patients in their 20s and problems with infection control at the facility that were pointed out in March by a hospital accreditation group, according to two defense officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Also, the Pentagon announced late Tuesday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had ordered a 90-day review of the entire military health care system. He was spurred by the investigation into allegations of treatment delays at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The review will assess the quality of the health care at military treatment facilities and care the department buys from civilian providers, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

Earlier Tuesday, a meeting was held at Womack to introduce staff to their new commander after the Army relieved Col. Steven Brewster of his position, the defense officials said.

"Senior Army medical leaders have lost trust and confidence in the commander ... to address the changes needed to maintain a high level of patient care," the Army statement said. Suspended were the deputy commanders for clinical services, nursing and administration, the Army said.