Tags: VA Scandal | candy land | VA | wisconsin | hospital | congress | IG

Report: IG Didn't Tell Congress About 'Candy Land' Hospital Problems

By    |   Friday, 16 Jan 2015 07:27 PM

The Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general was aware a VA medical center in Wisconsin was dispensing extremely large amounts of morphine to patients, but failed to disclose that information to Congress, the Daily Caller reported.

The inspector general’s office is supposed to function as an independent oversight body within the Department of Veterans Affairs. But in what the website termed a "contentious" interview, a spokeswoman for the IG admitted that its internal report on the notorious "Candy Land" facility in Tomah, Wisconsin, was not published.

The office also admitted that it routinely produces reports that it does not publish or send to Congress, according to the Daily Caller.

In March 2014, the inspector general’s office compiled a report showing that the VA medical center in Tomah, located about 165 miles northwest of Milwaukee, provided huge amounts of morphine to patients, causing area veterans to refer to the center as "Candy Land."

The inspector general’s report was first noted in an article published last week by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR).

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller never received a copy of the internal report. According to the Daily Caller, the Florida Republican was unaware of the report's existence until the CIR article came out.

CIR reported that the VA’s inspector general found that the hospital's chief of staff, Dr. David Houlihan, a psychiatrist, had prescribed on average the equivalent of 25,000 milligrams of morphine to each of the 128 patients he saw in 2012, a level that investigators said was "at considerable variance compared with most opioid prescribers" and "raised potentially serious concerns" that should be brought to the attention of the VA's leadership.

The "exponential growth in the use of narcotics transformed the Tomah VA from a conservative prescriber of painkillers to one typical of runaway opiate prescription practices throughout the VA healthcare system," CIR reported.

VA officials said Thursday that Houlihan had been "temporarily reassigned" to a VA office pending an internal investigation.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general was aware a VA medical center in Wisconsin was dispensing extremely large amounts of morphine to patients, but failed to disclose that information to Congress, the Daily Caller reported.
candy land, VA, wisconsin, hospital, congress, IG
328
2015-27-16
Friday, 16 Jan 2015 07:27 PM
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