Army psychiatrist: PTSD diagnoses were fixed at Walter Reed

Tacoma News TribuneMarch 5, 2012 

In her resignation letter, Madigan Army Medical Center forensic psychiatrist Juliana Ellis-Billingsley wrote that the Army’s top behavioral health officer misled Madigan leaders about the results of an investigation into post-traumatic stress diagnoses at the hospital south of Tacoma.

Ellis-Billingsley wrote that Col. Rebecca Porter in early February told Madigan leaders that forensic psychiatrists at Walter Reed Military Medical Center had upheld the first 12 Madigan diagnoses they reviewed among a group of 14 soldiers who contested the behavioral health diagnoses they received from Madigan.

Three weeks later, Porter visited Madigan to deliver the results of the Walter Reed reviews to the soldiers themselves. They learned that Walter Reed overturned six Madigan diagnoses, deciding that those soldiers suffered from PTSD. In eight other cases, Walter Reed agreed with Madigan in diagnosing soldiers with conditions other than PTSD.

Madigan commander Col. Dallas Homas reportedly received the first news from Col. Porter at an Army medical health conference in Washington, D.C. Homas declined to comment today on Ellis-Billingsley’s letter.

Ellis-Billingsley wrote that Homas returned from Washington, D.C., and delivered what appeared to be good news to the Madigan psychiatrists.

“Each day we awaited the release of the information,” Ellis-Billingsley wrote. “Then on 18 February 2012 Col. Homas was administratively relieved and Col. (Mike) Heimall, a medical service officer, was named the interim commander. On 22 February 2012, we me with Col. Heimall and Col. (Karen) O’Brien. Col. Heimall announced that Walter Reed forensics concurred with the diagnoses on only 8 of 14 cases.

“It became patently clear to me that some force above Western Region (Medical Command) came to bear on Walter Reed forensics and they changed their diagnoses.

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