On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

Walz calls for better access to soldiers' medical records

Share story

Rep. Walz meets with a soldier
Rep. Tim Walz meets with a solider during his recent trip to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Courtesy photos

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tim Walz has just returned from his first trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Germany. 

Walz said the trip gave him a renewed sense of urgency to improve access to soldiers' medical records.

The first-term congressman from Mankato, Minn., said he saw a tangled mess of software and programs.  And there's no good way for medical records to follow a soldier from basic training to the battlefield to the Veterans Administration system once they're out.

Rep. Walz eats with troops
Rep. Tim Walz eats dinner with U.S. troops during his recent visit to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Courtesy photos

"I saw a physician who was getting the records and accessing them, but he had three computers open and seven different databases," said Walz.  "He was eventually able to get to that, but he had to open the database and query the name of the soldier." 

But Walz isn't sure the problem needs legislation right now, because he thinks the right federal officials are working on a fix.

Walz sits on a committee that handles the issue of soldier records, and after decades of talk, he said the timing might be right to actually do something.