Donnelly Bill to Help Address Veterans’ Opioid Abuse Signed Into Law by President Trump

The VA Prescription Data Accountability Act will expand VA’s authority to share prescription drug data with state monitoring programs

Indianapolis, Ind. Bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), and in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-2) and Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-2), was signed into law today by President Trump. The VA Prescription Data Accountability Act will clarify current law to allow the 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.

Donnelly said, “Coordination between the VA and our prescription drug monitoring programs is key to addressing opioid abuse in Indiana and across the country. The VA is a major prescriber of opioids and prescription drugs and must be a full partner in our all-hands-on-deck effort to combat this epidemic. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that VA hospitals and clinics are in line with their non-VA counterparts and allow VA facilities to fully partner with Indiana’s INSPECT and similar programs across the country to monitor opioid prescribing practices.”

This legislation, for example, will enable the VA to share data with Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring program, INSPECT. 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 the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

The law was supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Association of the United States Navy. The Congressional Budget Office scored the House companion as having no added cost to taxpayers.

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