Rounds Bill to Help Address Veterans’ Opioid Abuse Passes Senate
The VA Prescription Data Accountability Act would expand VA’s authority to share prescription drug data with state monitoring programs
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today praised the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan VA Prescription Data Accountability Act, which he introduced with Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) earlier this year. The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
“Opioid abuse is widespread throughout the United States,” said Rounds. “Sadly, many of our veterans suffer from addiction to prescription painkillers prescribed to them by doctors to treat pain or injuries stemming from their service to our country. Our bill updates current law to give the VA authority to securely share patient data with state prescription drug monitoring programs. These are crucial systems that reinforce safe prescribing practices to cut down on opioid abuse and protect our veterans. I am pleased to see this bill head to the president’s desk to be signed into law.”
The bill 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. This legislation, for example, would 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 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. The Congressional Budget Office has scored the House companion as having no added cost to taxpayers.