Legislation aimed at overhauling the pain management practices of the Veterans Affairs medical system is headed to the president’s desk, after receiving final approval in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.
The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act was inspired by the scandal surrounding the Wisconsin Marine’s death from drug toxicity, which was the result of him being prescribed more than a dozen medications. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a sponsor of the bill, says it “advances critical provisions to strengthen the Department of Veterans’ Affairs opioid prescribing guidelines and puts in place much stronger oversight and accountability for the quality of care that we are providing our veterans.”
The bill will increase coordination and communication within the VA medical system, while also stressing alternatives to opioid painkillers for treating chronic pain in veterans.