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Army Suspends Brig. Gen. In Charge of Western Region Medical Care

John Brooks
U.S. Army
File photo of Brig. Gen. John Cho speaking at an Army town hall meeting in March 2014.

The Army Surgeon General Thursday suspended the commander in charge of Army hospitals in 20 western states. 

Brigadier General John Cho led the U.S. Army's Western Regional Medical Command headquartered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma. A brief Army statement said Cho was indefinitely suspended due to an issue with the "command climate" in his organization.

The Army declined to be more specific "pending the outcome an inquiry." But WRMC spokeswoman Sharon Ayala clarified, "this has nothing to do with patient health care delivery, patient safety or access to care."

The biggest hospital in the command is Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The facility has come under scrutiny in recent years for various issues such as reversals of post-traumatic stress syndrome diagnosis. However, all that predates Cho's arrival less than a year ago.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.