WASHINGTON — Petty officer Anthony Cuomo believes if he were an active-duty sailor, the Navy would have already taken care of the shoulder injury he suffered while training in Iraq.

But instead the reservist, who joined after serving as a New York City firefighter during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said he has undergone 21 months of confusion over his military status and rights, and is still waiting for additional surgeries to repair torn muscles.

“In my mind, there is one word for this: discrimination,” he said Wednesday, during testimony before a congressional panel investigating the treatment of wounded troops.

Top military officials acknowledged at the hearing that such health care inconsistencies do exist, despite efforts to ensure equitable care for all those injured in combat zones.

Cuomo praised the medical professionals who have treated him — one doctor told him he was a “sailor and a patient, not a reservist” — but said administrators have delayed and denied treatments for him.

At one point, he said, Navy officials classified his debilitating shoulder and head pain as “minor” and noncombat-related. His shoulder separation came during a training exercise inside Iraq.

Members of Congress called that testimony upsetting.

“I’m disappointed that we’re back here again to hear about the same problems that we’ve all worked so hard to fix,” said Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., chairman of a House subcommittee on military personnel. “These reports are disturbing.”

Chief Warrant Officer Stephen Keeton said after initially receiving exemplary treatment overseas for his injuries, he returned home to find discrepancies how reservists were handled.

“I was really dismayed when an Army chaplain boarded our bus full of wounded troops, and began to ask if we were Reserve or active duty,” he said. “If it was Guard or Reserve he passed them up, and if it was an active-duty member he began to talk with them.

“He said we would receive the care we needed when we got to the destination station, but he was there for the active-duty guys.”

Army Deputy Surgeon General Maj. Gen. Joseph G. Webb Jr. said of the 21,000 Army guardsmen and reservists injured in the war on terror, nearly 16,000 have finished their rehabilitation and nearly 10,000 have been returned to duty.

“I don’t think there’s another system in the world that could do that,” he said. “But improvements to the seamless transition of care are still needed.”

The hearing also covered health care problems not related to duty status. Senior Airman Anthony Pizzifred, who lost his left leg to a land mine in Iraq, said some medical centers he visited knew little about prosthetics and other treatment for amputees.

Keeton said just days after the rocket attack that injured him, he managed to call his wife and sons to let them know he was recovering. To his dismay, his family had no idea he had been injured.

All of the panelists praised the medical community. They called the doctors and medical experts who treated them heroes. But they said that administrative changes need to be made to ensure the wounded troops aren’t overwhelmed by bureaucratic mistakes.

Representatives from all four services told the congressional panel that they are committed to providing needed medical care to every soldier returning from combat overseas.

The hearing was solely to gather information; no action was prescribed by the committee.

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