WASHINGTON, March 20, 2007 — In response to recent concerns on the care provided for America’s wounded soldiers, President Bush, on Tuesday, March 6, signed an Executive Order establishing the Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors.
National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) President and CEO Ed Eckenhoff was chosen to serve on the Commission, which will conduct a comprehensive review of the care America is providing our wounded servicemen and women returning from the battlefield.
Mr. Eckenhoff, in the early 80’s, recognized the need for focused physical rehabilitation care in the D.C. Metro Area and surrounding region, as this level of specified care was not available. He founded NRH in 1986 and, through his guidance and leadership, that single facility has grown into a world renowned entity—the NRH Medical Rehabilitation Network, which includes the main hospital campus and 40 NRH Regional Rehab outpatient sites.
NRH also houses a vast research facility: the Christoph Ruesch Research Center that is comprised of the John P. Murtha Assistive Technology Research Center, the Center for Applied Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Research (CABRR), the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN), the Center for Post-Acute Studies (CPS), and the Neuroscience Research Center (NRC).
Of particular relevance to the mission of the Presidential Commission and Mr. Eckenhoff’s contribution thereon, NRH and the Christoph Ruesch Research Center has an established history working with the military in treating a great number of soldiers with advanced disabilities such as traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, amputations and highly complex orthopedic injuries. In addition to treating their physical disabilities, NRH conducts invaluable research that will enable these soldiers to return to the highest level of independent function and to enjoy the greatest possible quality of life.
Research also includes projects of a proactive nature: the development of implements that will protect our U.S. soldiers from critical injury as well as self-diagnostic equipment that will ensure medical conditions—including even mild traumatic brain injuries—are not overlooked or misdiagnosed in the field.
Mr. Eckenhoff states, “NRH has honed its skills as one of the finest rehab hospitals in the country—both from a clinical and research perspective. I am excited to be a part of the President’s Commission on the Care for Wounded Soldiers and to apply what we have learned here at NRH to the greater good of treating those with disabilities, particularly our soldiers who have made such tremendous personal sacrifices.”
Mr. Eckenhoff and the six additional members of the Commission will join the Commission Co-Chairs, former Senator and Victory Award®* Honoree Bob Dole and former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, in evaluating existing programs and services and offering suggestions for improvement.
National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) is a private, not-for-profit facility located in Northwest Washington, D.C. NRH’s services are designed specifically for the rehabilitation of individuals with disabling injuries and illnesses such as stroke, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, arthritis, amputations, post-polio syndrome, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, back and neck pain, occupational injuries, cancer and cardiac disease that require medical rehabilitation, and other neurological and orthopedic conditions. Annually, NRH completes nearly 350,000 ambulatory visits—through the 40 NRH Regional Rehab sites—and more than 2,200 inpatient admissions. Over the course of 21 years, NRH has admitted in excess of 35,000 inpatients and provided over 2 million outpatient visits. NRH has 128 adult beds as well as 12 pediatric beds and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top ten hospitals for medical rehabilitation in the country. This is the twelfth consecutive year that NRH has been honored by U.S. News as one of “America’s Best Hospitals.” NRH, celebrating its 21st year of service, is the youngest hospital to be so honored.
* For 20 years, the NRH Victory Awards have been a nationally recognized celebration of the victory of the human spirit and honors those individuals who best exemplify exceptional strength and courage in the face of physical adversity. In 1986, former Senator Bob Dole was among the first Victory Award honorees.