After less than one year after Col. Dallas Homas has been in command, he has been administratively removed from command at Madigan Healthcare System while the Army investigated the outcome of the possible mishandling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases.
In late January the Army began examining the conduct of a Madigan Army Medical Center psychiatric team that reversed the diagnoses of 14 soldiers previously diagnosed with PTSD and tagged them as malingerers.
Having the PTSD diagnoses helps to qualify a servicemember for medical retirement.
Under the VA system, a 25-year-old veteran with a 100 percent PTSD disability currently can receive $2,769 per month, and at that rate of compensation would tally more than $1.5 million in payments over 46 years.
Sen. Patty Murray, Chair for the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, has oversight of the Army Medical Command's investigation. She said that doctors should not be taking financial considerations into account as they make a mental-health diagnosis according to a Seattle Times news report.
In a statement released in Feb. by Western Regional Medical Command, a second round of evaluations were ordered by Maj. Gen. Philip Volpe, commanding general, Western Regional Medical Command, after the facility came under scrutiny.
The office of the Army Surgeon General arranged for the soldiers to fly to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where they underwent examinations by another team of Army doctors. Of the 14 soldiers, six were notified and confirmed that they suffer from PTSD according to a Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday.
The hot button issue of treatment for wounded warriors and the handling of PTSD cases spans the country. Last Thursday, Gen. Frank Helmick, commander of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, announced that he was ordering an investigation into the practices and procedures of Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB).
With 576 soldiers in the WTB suffering from either physical wounds and mental impairment, 65% of Patch readers voted that the WTB needs some improvements meeting the needs of soldiers and the care they receive.
Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, if a soldier receives a disability rating based on a PTSD diagnosis, he receives at least a rating of 50 percent. This may not be permanent, however, as the soldier will be placed on the Temporary Disabled Retired List and periodically re-evaluated. During this re-evaluation period, the soldier's level of benefit could be adjusted based on the stability of his mental health findings.