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VA launching investigation into ‘Candy Land’ hospital

Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Democrats offer bill to scrap tax break for investment managers Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap House Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package MORE (D-Wis.) on Thursday said the Veterans Affairs Department is launching an investigation into one of its hospitals where narcotic painkiller prescriptions were given out “like candy.”

On Tuesday, Baldwin joined a growing chorus of the state’s congressional delegation demanding the agency’s leadership investigate the VA hospital in Tomah, Wis., where prescriptions saw a huge uptick even though the patient population dwindled. 

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“I spoke to [VA Secretary Robert McDonald] this morning and he informed me that he is taking these allegations very seriously and is immediately launching a thorough investigation,” Baldwin said in a statement.

McDonald has also decided to remove the hospital chief of staff and bar him from seeing patients and writing prescriptions, according to Baldwin.

“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,” she said.

In addition to Baldwin, fellow Democrat Rep. Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindHouse Democrats hit Republicans on mobile billboard at GOP retreat House Republicans pressuring Democrats to return donations from Ocasio-Cortez Race debate grips Congress MORE and Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonAll congressional Democrats say they have been vaccinated: CNN Immigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart GOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending MORE and Rep. Sean DuffySean DuffyLobbying world CNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' Bottom line MORE, both Republicans, wrote the VA asking for a probe of the facility following a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting that found patients had nicknamed the facility "Candy Land" for the number of pain medications it gave out.

The study found opiate prescriptions had quintupled over the last eight years, while the number of patients shrank.