, , , ,

Congressional Committees Will Hear Testimony On Tomah VA Monday

Baldwin, Johnson And Kind Set To Attend Hearing

Talk Radio News Service (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Members of two Congressional committees are holding a field hearing in Tomah Monday, to learn more about high opiate prescription rates, a culture of retaliation and patient deaths at the city’s VA Medical Center. Some are hopeful the hearings will spark change.

Ryan Honl worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Tomah. He said he resigned after he was pressured to falsify documents and faced retaliation for being a whistleblower.

Honl is one of the few people who will be testifying before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

At the hearing, Honl said he’s going to focus on a need for greater accountability and honesty within the entire VA system, not just at Tomah.

“Unless it’s cleaned up from the bottom to the top on the whole ‘nothing to see here’ culture, nothing will change within the VA,” Honl said.

Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He said people need to be held accountable for overprescribing opiates.

“When you have repeated whistleblowers talking about the over-prescription of painkillers and opiates over a number of years, that was a problem that was allowed to fester and it was allowed to fester because it was not highlighted, it was not made public,” Johnson said.

Johnson has criticized the VA’s Office of Inspector General for not releasing reports on the Tomah VA sooner.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Ron Kind will also be at the hearing, among lawmakers from other states.

Other witnesses include family members of veterans who died at the hospital last year and a former Tomah VA pharmacist, along with federal and local VA leaders.