Arlington, VA – This afternoon, the House Veterans Affairs Committee will assess the ongoing drug theft and abuse scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in a hearing entitled “Assessing VA’s Risks for Drug Diversion.”
The hearing comes on the heels of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report exposing that employee drug theft problems continue to worsen at the VA. The VA’s own data indicates there has been a sharp increase in opioid theft, missing prescriptions or unauthorized drug use by employees since 2009. In addition, recent audits expose that four VA hospitals have skipped monthly drug stock inspections and have missed other routine requirements.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“It’s nearly impossible to get fired at the VA, so employees who steal drugs or engage in criminal activity don’t necessarily expect any immediate ramifications for their actions. Until VA employees understand that there will be real consequences for misconduct, they’re simply disincentivized from following the rules. We applaud the House Veterans Affairs Committee for investigating this scandal because American veterans and taxpayers alike deserve answers immediately. To fix this problem in the long-term, Congress much pass strong accountability legislation so the VA can get these bad employees out for good. Until the toxic culture at the VA changes permanently, veterans will not be able to access care they legitimately need and these dangerous habits among VA employees will continue.”
Earlier this month in Little Rock, Arkansas, three employees were charged with conspiring to steal prescription medications, including opioids, over six months after the Department became aware of the misconduct.
CVA urges Congress to pass the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act, which would make it easier to fire bad VA employees.