Dem senator wants Veterans hearing on ‘Candy Land’

Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Trump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE (D-Wis.) is urging the Senate to hold a hearing on whether pain opiates are being prescribed like candy to patients at a Veterans Affairs facility in her state.

A recent report by the Center for Investigative Reporting found patients had nicknamed the Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin “Candy Land” because of the number of pain medications it gave out.

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“I am writing to request that you hold a hearing to address the failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to stop improper opioid prescribing practices and associated abuse of administrative authority at the Tomah VA Medical Center,” Baldwin wrote in a letter to Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and ranking member Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

Baldwin also suggested the hospital’s problems were part of a broader trend.

“Therefore, I request that the hearing also examine the problem of overmedication across the VA network, particularly the use of opioids for mental health treatment,” Baldwin asked.

Baldwin joined others in Wisconsin’s delegation last week in demanding that the department investigate an agency hospital in Tomah, Wis., where prescriptions quintupled even though the patient population shrank.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald told Baldwin last week that his agency was launching an investigation into the facility. He also removed the hospital’s chief of staff and barred him from seeing patients and writing prescriptions.