Johnson slams VA plan

WASHINGTON – After weeks of investigation into the Tomah Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center prescription problem, the VA Office of Inspector General released a 30-day plan Monday, saying it’s probing the issue in further detail.

Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI, says the plan isn’t tough enough.

“Obviously it’s too little too late. People died, people were overprescribed opiate drugs and it resulted in their deaths,” said Johnson, who is the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where he oversees the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The senator says his frustration level is increasing. He thinks employees at the Tomah VA aren’t being held accountable. But should Tomah workers be fired?

“My guess, based on the seriousness of the charges, how long this was occurring, I think so,” Johnson said. “Let’s put it this way: people need to be fully held accountable.”

Johnson points to the VA Inspector General, saying the office shows a lack of transparency.

“I expect full cooperation out of the Office of Inspector General, again the watchdog. They should be fully cooperative with us. They should be bending over backwards to give us all the information we need.”

When it comes to care at the Tomah VA Medical Center, Johnson says there are still issues that aren’t fully addressed in this new 30-day plan, especially when it comes to treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“I’m not saying it’s an easy condition to deal with, but should it really be treated with a gross over-prescription of opiate drugs? Of highly addictive substances?”

He says he’s going to continue to push for more transparency, and once he gets it, he says he promises to make all of his findings available to the public.

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