Rounds, Donnelly Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve VA Data Sharing and Combat Opioid Abuse Epidemic
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) today announced the introduction of the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act, bipartisan legislation that would clarify current law to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to share data with state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) for patients who are prescribed opioids by VA providers, including both veterans and their dependents. The VA is currently only sharing prescription data on veterans, not their dependents or others treated by VA providers, due to technical issues related to the VA’s health records system. As a result, a significant amount of VA prescription data is not being shared with states’ prescription drug monitoring programs.
“South Dakota is home to approximately 76,000 veterans who have been promised adequate care from the VA,” said Rounds. “Our bill simply updates current law to give the VA authority to securely share patient data with state prescription drug monitoring programs; crucial systems that reinforce safe prescribing practices to cut down on opioid abuse and protect our vets. I look forward to working with Sen. Donnelly to get this straight-forward, bipartisan, cost-effective legislation signed into law.”
The VA Prescription Data Accountability Act is supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Association of the United States Navy. Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-2) and Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-2) introduced companion bipartisan legislation that passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Congressional Budget Office has scored the House companion as having no added cost to taxpayers.