VA Will Investigate Tomah Medical Center

Clinic May Be Over-Prescribing Drugs To Veterans

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin recently joined Rep. Ron Kind in requesting the Tomah clinic investigation. Photo: Senate Democrats (CC-BY).

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is launching an investigation into a Tomah VA medical center after a recent report raised questions about prescription practices and administrative misconduct.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald told U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Thursday that the agency is looking into whether opiates have been over-prescribed at the Tomah VA and whether certain administrators created a hostile workplace. The VA will release its first update in 4 to 6 weeks.

The clinic’s chief-of-staff, Dr. David Houlihan, has been removed from his position, temporarily reassigned and cannot see patients or prescribe medications during the investigation.

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Baldwin’s office says the Veterans Health Administration and the Office of Accountability Review is conducting the investigation.

A story by The Center for Investigative Reporting says the number of opiates prescribed at the Tomah VA more than quintupled between 2004 and 2012, even as veterans seeking treatment there declined.