Lawmakers in Washington want attention focused on the Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center. A media report said doctors at the Tomah Center allegedly over-prescribed opiate painkillers, and one service member died.
Congressman Ron Kind is asking the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to examine pain management procedures at the facility. “These allegations are extremely serious, and a hearing would identify an important next step towards identifying problems and finding solutions, not just in Tomah, but system wide,” the La Crosse Democrat said. Kind is being joined in the request by congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota, and Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin wants a similar hearing by the Senate veterans’ panel.
“Congress has a role in making sure that pain management programs for our veterans are being managed responsibly, which should include looking into pain-killer prescription rates, to make sure that every veteran is getting the appropriate treatment,” said Kind.
Tomah’s medical chief-of-staff David Houlihan was reassigned last week as part of an investigation by the V.A. That was after the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the numbers of opiates given to Tomah’s hospitalized veterans grew by 500 percent from 2004-through-2012.