A Veterans Affairs hospital in West Virginia switched out patients’ prescribed medications with older drugs to cut costs, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced in a letter to Congress and the White House Wednesday.
The Beckley, West Virginia, Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) substituted prescribed antipsychotic medications with older drugs as a cost-savings measure. The practice violated VA policy and posed a public health risk, the OSC said in a press release.
A VA whistleblower first disclosed the allegations to the OSC, an independent federal agency that handles claims of whistleblower retaliation and improper personnel practices. The allegations were confirmed by an internal VA investigation.
The investigation found that the hospital’s actions posed “a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.”
The investigation also found that hospital’s pharmacy and therapeutics committee was chaired by a non-physician, another departure from VA policy.