01.15.15

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on New Investigation into Tomah VA Prescribing Practices and Abuse of Administrative Authority

On Tuesday, Baldwin sent a letter to VA Secretary McDonald requesting a “thorough investigation of the operation of the Tomah VA.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced it has launched an immediate investigation into allegations of over-medication and a hostile, retaliatory work environment at the Tomah VA Medical Center. The high-level investigation will be conducted by the Veterans Health Administration and the Office of Accountability Review. On Tuesday, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to Secretary Robert McDonald regarding recent “extremely troubling” reports of improper opiate prescribing practices and “abuse of administrative authority” at the Tomah VAMC. In her letter, Senator Baldwin requests that Secretary McDonald take immediate action to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the facility. Senator Baldwin also raises concerns with reports of an administrative culture of intimidation and dysfunction.

“I spoke to Secretary McDonald this morning and he informed me that he is taking these allegations very seriously and is immediately launching a thorough investigation,” said Baldwin. “In addition, he has decided to remove the Tomah Chief of Staff from the facility and bar him from seeing patients and writing prescriptions.  These are important initial steps and I will closely monitor the investigation’s progress and work to ensure that its scope and resulting remedial actions will achieve and maintain the goal of providing the timely, highest-quality care that our Wisconsin veterans have earned.”

In April and June of last year, Senator Baldwin previously raised these concerns on behalf of a constituent, sending letters to the Tomah VA and the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG), respectively.

An online version of Senator Baldwin's letter to Secretary Robert McDonald is available here.