At the direction of the Acting Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff, Army, the Army will open March 19 its newly created Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline. The purpose of the hotline's call center is twofold: to offer wounded and injured Soldiers and family members a way to seek help to resolve medical issues and to provide an information channel of Soldier medically related issues directly to senior Army leadership so they can improve how Army serves the medical needs of our Soldiers and their families.

"We have designed this call center to be able to collectively hear what the Soldiers say about their health care issues, so as issues are raised, we can identify systemic faults or problematic areas and senior leaders can better allocate resources," said Maj. Gen. Sean J. Byrne, Commanding General, U.S. Army Human Resources Command. "It's all about serving our wounded and injured Soldiers and their families. If we can find a way to improve our system, we will. It's that simple."

Many wounded and injured Soldiers who have supported the Global War on Terror, as well as their families, are enduring hardships in navigating through our medical care system. The Army is committed to providing outstanding medical care for the men and women who have volunteered to serve this great nation. Recent events made it clear the Army needs to revise how it meets the needs of our wounded and injured Soldiers and their families. In certain cases, the Soldiers' chain of command could have done a better job in helping to resolve medically related issues.

Leaders in Soldiers' chains of command also need to be aware that this call center exists and that it has not been created to circumvent the chain of command. In this particularly challenging time, as our senior Army leadership looks to ways to improve services to wounded and injured Soldiers and their families, this is another step in the direction of improvement. Wounded and injured Soldiers and their families expect and deserve the very best care and leadership from America's Army.

The Army's intent is to ensure wounded and injured Soldiers and their families that they receive the best medical care possible. The Army chain of command will ensure every Soldier is assisted in navigating the Military Health Care System.

The "Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline" can be reached from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1-800-984-8523. As additional personnel are trained to receive calls and refer them to the proper organization or agency for resolution, the hotline hours of operation will expand to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.