The Tomah VA scandal involving excessive prescriptions linked to veteran deaths has escalated resulting in Wisconsin lawmakers taking VA to task over failures to reign in questionable prescriptive practices.
Three Tomah VA medical staffers are under investigation by the State of Wisconsin for failing to follow healthy prescriptive standards. These failures are linked to at least one veteran death. Senator Ron Johnson has called for the resignation of VA OIG head Richard Griffin for OIG’s failure to properly investigate the problems once already.
Is it just me, or isn’t it about time our states start to protect us from the reckless practices of VA employees?
I think it is high time our states start standing up to the VA across the country. Their employees are not above the law, but the fed has failed to keep its veterans safe. Now, it is time for states to flex their might by revoking licenses these federal employees depend on.
STATE OF WISCONSIN INVESTIGATING TOMAH VA SCANDAL
The State of Wisconsin is taking on VA for the agency’s failure to hold its own medical staff accountable. If a doctor is licensed in the state, the state has the authority to revoke the license for problems like those alleged at the Tomah VA.
Reporter Daniel Bice wrote:
The state has opened an investigation of a doctor dubbed the “Candy Man” and two other individuals tied to the death of a patient at the Tomah VA Medical Center.
An official confirmed that the state Department of Safety and Professional Services is investigating David Houlihan, chief of staff at the troubled Tomah facility.
Houlihan had been given the nickname “Candy Man” by some vets for his supposedly easy and widespread distribution of painkillers. He wrote at least some of the prescriptions for a 35-year-old Marine Corps vet who died at the medical center in August.
A nurse and pharmacist who worked with Houlihan are also under investigation by the state.
State officials have the authority to issue reprimands or suspend or strip the state licenses of medical professionals in Wisconsin. The state could also refer the matter for criminal prosecution.
VA OIG INVESTIGATES TOMAH VA, AGAIN
VA OIG supposedly investigated Tomah VA over questionable prescriptive practices recently, but the report was about as soft-hitting as the final report on Phoenix VA.
According to reporter Aaron Glantz:
For many, it was déjà vu, since the same allegations had been scrutinized for two years by the VA’s Office of Inspector General – in a report that has never been released officially. That left some questioning whether the agency charged with caring for America’s military veterans is capable of policing itself.
“We need the FBI to come in here,” said Linda Ellinghuysen, a registered nurse and president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents about 900 medical and support staff at the facility.
Politicians and hospital employees alike remain suspicious about why they never saw the earlier report. Some say inspectors were not thorough before, and ask why they should assume this review will be any different.
WISCONSIN OFFICIALS CALL FOR REPLACEMENT OF OIG HEAD GRIFFIN
Republican lawmakers are hitting hard on VA’s failure to police itself. Now, the state is punching back with its own investigation and lawmakers are calling for VA OIG Richard Griffin to step down. I think it’s high time someone else take over the lead role in light of Griffin’s continued failures to hold wrongdoers accountable.
Reporter Daniel Bice wrote:
On Jan. 14, Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, joined with Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., in writing a letter to Richard J. Griffin, the acting director of the VA’s Office of Inspector General, asking for a fresh investigation of the Tomah VA.
A week later, Johnson wrote to President Barack Obama demanding the appointment of a new inspector general. “The problems surrounding the Tomah VAMC have led veterans and VA employees to question not only the leadership at the facility but at the VA Office of Inspector General,” he wrote.
Veterans advocates consider the suppression of the inspector general’s report on the Tomah VA part of a larger pattern at the agency, which has a reputation of keeping damning information secret rather than sharing its problems with Congress and the public.