Kuster VA Prescription Drug Monitoring Bill Heads to President’s Desk
(Washington, DC) – Last night, the Senate passed the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act, legislation authored by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. The legislation would clarify current law to stipulate that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is required to disclose information to state controlled substance monitoring programs for anyone – veteran or non-veteran – who is prescribed these medications through VA. The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD). The legislation now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the largest prescribers of narcotics in the country and any effective national prescription drug monitoring program must include the VA,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “The VA is in a position to be a leader in improving opioid prescribing and pain management practices, and a robust prescription drug monitoring program is a critical component of that effort. I’m encouraged that we were able to come together across the aisle to make this commonsense improvement to the VA’s prescription drug monitoring program.”
Under current law, when VHA providers prescribe a controlled substance, VHA is required to disclose that information to the appropriate state controlled substance monitoring program. Due to VistA’s inability to differentiate between dependents and other non-veterans, VHA is currently only transmitting data for veteran patients, leaving out approximately 10% of VHA’s patient population who are dependents or other non-veterans who meet certain qualifications to receive prescriptions from VHA.