The family of a Wisconsin veteran who died from a combination of medications prescribed by Veterans Administration doctors is optimistic after the House passed a bill Tuesday to reform the VA’s use of painkillers.
, a 35-year-old former Marine from Stevens Point, was being treated at the Tomah VA Medical Center in August 2014 when he died from the toxic combination of medicine, according to VA reports. His death was at the center of a 2015 report from the Center for Investigative Reporting highlighting excessive opioid painkiller prescription rates at the hospital, which some veterans called “Candy Land.”
mother, widow and daughter were on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as guests of Rep. Ron Kind, co-sponsor of the Promise Act, which directs the VA to update its opioid prescription practices.
Heather said she hopes the Senate will pass a larger VA reform bill, which contains similar language named for her husband and that the two chambers can reconcile them.
“I think this is a huge honor for him and I think he’d be extremely proud,” she said. “I’m just excited to see it brought through to the finish line.”
Kind credited the for their involvement with the bill and their support in rallying lawmakers.
“The human element sometimes gets lost,” Kind said. “When you have a family showing up at the doorstep … it humanizes everything we do here.”
mother, Linda , said while she would like to see additional VA reforms, the opioid bill is a start.
“We just feel that we want to make a change so no other family has to go through this situation,” she said. “When these men and women come out … there’s no reason they should have to fight for their lives (in the VA).”
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