PolitiFact Wisconsin: Over-prescriptions to veterans

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 16:00:24-04

News of the over-prescription of painkillers at the Tomah VA raised concerns about how politicians responded to the problem.

PolitiFact Wisconsin looks at an attack ad against U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, as she likely faces reelection in 2018.
The radio ad by the Political Action Committee, Americas is critical of Baldwin's response to the opioid scandal at the Tomah VA.
"What the Political Action Committee says is that Baldwin was told by a whistle-blower about ‘overmedicated veterans’ that she made ‘deadly mistakes’ and that ‘three veterans died’ at the Tomah VA Hospital," said Tom Kertscher with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
That's a lot to unpack. PolitiFact Wisconsin looked at the deaths and found the attack does not add up, for example.

"What we found though," Kertscher said, "is that among the three veterans, one death had nothing to do with opioid painkillers.”
A second overdose death was years after a veteran stopped treatment at Tomah, the third death was before the whistle-blower's alert.
PolitiFact Wisconsin reports Baldwin's office acknowledges mistakes in handling an inspection report about over medication problems at Tomah and the whitsle-blower's email but that's different than making "deadly mistakes.”
"The ad suggests Baldwin knew about the opioid problems at the Tomah VA, made deadly mistakes and as result three veterans died but in fact the ad is wrong on the timing and circumstance on all three deaths," Kertscher said.
PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim False.
PolitiFact Wisconsin also reports that the radio ad by Americas PAC is largely funded by mega Republican donor Richard Uihlein who owns a Wisconsin business.

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