Monday, December 3, 2012

Report finds Madigan's head did not influence PTSD diagnoses

Army report backs Madigan leader
Finds Col. Dallas Homas did not use position to influence PTSD diagnoses
Staff writer
Published December 03, 2012

An Army investigation glowingly endorses the Madigan Army Medical Center commander who temporarily lost his post this year amid complaints about inconsistencies in the hospital’s post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses.

The report found that Col. Dallas Homas “did not exert any undue influence over PTSD diagnoses, and that he acted appropriately enforcing standard medical guidelines,” according to a summary The News Tribune obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The Army relieved Homas from his command from February until August as part of its investigation into the forensic psychiatry program at the Army hospital south of Tacoma.

Madigan’s forensic team had the last say on behavioral health diagnoses in disability evaluations, and patients couldn’t understand why the team’s psychologists sometimes changed other doctors’ PTSD diagnoses to other conditions.

Concerns about the program reached Homas’ level in part because one doctor in a staff meeting suggested psychologists be mindful of long-term costs to the government in making their diagnoses. PowerPoint slides from the briefing estimated the cost of a diagnosis at $1.5 million over time.

The Army has since given fresh PTSD diagnoses to 150 patients who had passed through the Madigan team over the past four years; all those patients previously were given a clean bill of health or a different diagnosis. Others who want their cases reviewed still can get new opinions.
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