Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into Tomah VA Medical Center

Investigative Report Suggests Clinic Has Over-Prescribed Painkillers


Federal lawmakers are calling for an investigation into a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Tomah after a recent report suggests some health care workers are over-prescribing painkillers to veterans.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin are asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate potential abuses within the Tomah VA clinic. A recent story by the Center for Investigative Reporting finds that opiate prescriptions quintupled from 2004-2012, while the number of patients dropped. The report also suggests administrative misconduct within the hospital.

The VA Office of Inspector General has found that the Tomah clinic is prescribing opiates at a higher rate compared to other VAs in the region, but did not find any wrongdoing.

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A Tomah VA clinic spokesman said in an email that it “will investigate each accusation to the fullest extent” and will eventually share those findings publicly.

The VA launched a national initiative in 2013 to reduce veterans’ use of opioids for chronic pain.