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Roe, Walorski, Banks Write VA Concerning Scheduling Manipulation, Opioid Mismanagement at Indiana VA Facility

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Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) wrote Secretary Shulkin regarding a recent VA Office of Medical Inspector report and investigation, requested by the Committee, which substantiated allegations of blind scheduling and inappropriate tapering of opioids within the VA Northern Indiana Health System. You can read the text of the letter here.

“The findings of this investigation are extremely troubling,” said Roe. “As a physician, I understand the consequences of tapering off opioids without a physical assessment or close supervision, and this report confirms what we’ve long suspected: this is happening at VA. This report emphasizes the need for better accountability regarding management of opioids at VA and highlights that inappropriate scheduling practices at VA are continuing. Just this week, the committee passed two bills out of committee focused on these very issues. As chairman, I will continue to lead the committee in diligent oversight to prevent these problems from occurring in the future.”

“The confirmed reports of improper care and scheduling manipulations at the Peru VA clinic are reprehensible, and Hoosier veterans deserve better,” said Walorski. “The VA secretary needs to explain why this misconduct was allowed to continue for so long, whether those responsible have been held accountable, what is being done to prevent these failures from occurring again. I applaud the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for approving my VA Scheduling Accountability Act to ensure all VA facilities fully comply with scheduling rules, and I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Roe and members of the committee to fix the VA so it works for veterans.”

“The allegations against the Peru clinic are deeply troubling,” said Banks. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to get to the bottom of what happened and ensure Hoosier veterans are receiving the care they deserve. I have personally talked to VA leadership and have full confidence that Director Hershman is addressing this situation appropriately and in a timely manner.”

Background:

The committee requested an investigation into the allegations about blind scheduling and inappropriate tapering of opioids at the Peru, Indiana Community Based Outpatient Clinic in October 2016. The VA Office of Medical Inspector substantiated these claims in a May 2017 report.

You can read more about the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act 2017 and the VA Scheduling Accountability Act, which the committee passed this week, and the committee’s other legislation to instill accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs here

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