Tomah, Wisconsin. The Tomah VA is under investigation for overmedication of its patients. The Tomah VA malpractice investigation began in early January. It began over allegations of overmedication of its patients. The number of patients over the past decade to the Tomah VA has declined, yet the prescriptions for opioid drugs have increased 4 fold.
The investigation is being conducted by the Secretary of the Veterans Affairs. The VA malpractice investigation will look at individual patients charts to determine whether the VA has been overprescribing medications. There are reports that some patients are receiving as many as 800 oxycodone pills per month. Further, the media reported that a 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran died of an overdose at the hospital. Another news outlet reported a case of veteran with a history of drug abuse who spent a month in the hospital for detoxification only to be prescribed oxycodone on release. That article noted that the Tomah VA malpractice investigation revealed that the Tomah VA, which serves nearly 300,000 veterans, was one of the highest prescribers of opiates in the great lakes area. Also according to the report, a Tomah provider was the top prescriber in the network, doling out twice as many pills as the 10th highest prescriber, yet having fewer patients.
Original VA malpractice investigation began with one doctor
The original medical malpractice investigation surrounds one particular doctor: Dr. David Houlihan. He was original in private practice in Iowa. He has a history of discipline with the Iowa Board of Medicine. In 2004, the doctor let his Iowa license lapse and moved to chief of staff of the Tomah VA, in charge of the care of veterans all across western Wisconsin. A media investigation of VA malpractice at the Tomah VA revealed that in 2004, the VA had given out 50,000 pills to 25,000 veterans. By 2012, the number had increased to 712,000 pills.