A series of discreet investigations carried out by federal authorities have revealed a systematic loss and theft of controlled substances at Veteran Affairs hospitals. Investigators found that VA employees have been engaged in opioid theft, unauthorized use of VA drugs, and disappearance of patients' prescriptions since 2009 till date. The Department of Veterans Affairs said they are now aware of the problem and taking steps to remedy the situation.
VA hospitals have been lax in tracking drug supplies
A number of investigations revealed VA hospitals are partly to blame for this rising problem. Many of them were discovered to have neglected tracking drug supplies and others skipped inspecting drug stocks as required monthly. It is not known at the moment whether VA hospital managers are conniving with thieving employees to steal VA drug supplies for kickbacks at the moment.
There are over 160 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics in the VA network, and the auditors found that many of these have been touched with incidents of VA drug loss. Federal authorities found that pharmacy staff and nurses and even doctors at several federal hospitals took part in misappropriating VA drug supplies. These they sold for quick cash in the streets and sometimes these they administered on themselves, CBS Local reported. A former VA employee in Baltimore confessed to injecting himself with fentanyl which a surgery patient ought to have taken and then refilling the syringe with saline solution which was administered on the surgery patient.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee will be examining this issue
This is a very serious issue with serious health implications and the House Veterans Affairs Committee has promised to hold a hearing on it. Rep. Phil Roe, chairman of the committee and a medical doctor, decried the situation and lamented that such incidence must not be heard of in the VA hospital network. To this extent, medical auditors, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the inspector general's office may be summoned for the hearing.
The DEA said they are also aware of the problem and have even reported some of these cases in times past, Fox News said. Further investigations have failed to reveal if this issue is unique to VA hospitals and clinics or if it has spread to private medical centers within the country. The United States holds ex-servicemen in high regards, and has vowed to not fold her hands while this misconduct goes unchecked in VA medical centers.