People of Northwest Public Radio
Mon February 11, 2013
Army Refuses To Release Investigation Into PTSD Probe At Madigan Army Medical Center
The Army says it won’t release the investigation into how Madigan Army Medical Center handled some soldiers' diagnoses for post-traumatic stress disorder. The denial comes one week after the Secretary of the Army was at Joint base Lewis McChord to announce the completion of an Army-wide review on the same subject.
The Army-wide review was ordered by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. It was triggered by an earlier investigation at Madigan Army Medical Center.
Army Secretary John McHugh told reporters the review resulted in 47 recommendations and 24 findings. Last week he said he would make portions of that Amy wide review available… but not yet.
“I’m not here to design any kind of cover-up or to not put those data points out," McHugh says. "I’ll make those data points available as soon as we’ve staffed them out. “
At the time reporters were waiting for similar data from a local investigation at Madigan. McHugh said he was unfamiliar with the requests.
Within days three news outlets learned that their requests had been denied. The Seattle Times, The News Tribune of Tacoma and KUOW all wanted information regarding an investigation into soldiers complaints about Madigan’s forensic psychiatry team.
The team had reversed hundreds of PTSD diagnoses. Many of those diagnoses were eventually restored after the soldiers were reexamined by behavioral health doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The diagnoses let some soldiers who had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan receive benefits for PTSD.
In its denial letter to reporters, the Army said the Madigan investigations should remain exempt from public disclosure because they contain confidential material that shaped Army decisions.
The news outlets have exhausted their appeal options under the Freedom of Information Act.
Copyright 2013 KUOW