President Bush has turned a shovel of dirt to start construction of a replacement for the troubled Walter Reed Army hospital.
The new facility will merge the duties of the existing Army facility in Washington with the operations of the National Naval Medical Center in suburban Bethesda.
The old Army hospital had come under harsh criticism last year for shoddy care of war veterans and grungy conditions.
Bush didn't talk about the institution's problems, but praised the work of the military medical staff.
When construction is completed in 2011, the 6.7 million-square-feet facility will have 345 beds. It will merge the resources of the Army, Navy and Air Force, and make it easier for medical professionals from all three services to collaborate and treat patients.
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