Summary: S.788 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.788. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (03/30/2017)

Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act of 2017

This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to contract with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (or another private, not-for-profit entity with comparable expertise) to review the deaths of all covered veterans who died by suicide during the last five years. A "covered veteran" is any veteran who received VA hospital care or medical services during the five-year period preceding the veteran's death.

The review shall include:

  • the total numbers of veterans who died by a violent death or by an accidental death during such period;
  • each veteran's age, gender, race, and ethnicity;
  • a list of medications and substances prescribed to such veterans, as annotated on toxicology reports;
  • a summary of medical diagnoses by VA physicians that led to such prescriptions in cases of anxiety and depressive disorders;
  • the number of instances in which such a veteran was concurrently on multiple medications prescribed by VA physicians;
  • the number of such veterans who were not taking any VA-prescribed medication;
  • the percentage of such veterans treated for anxiety or depressive disorders who received a non-medication first-line treatment compared to the percentage who received medication only;
  • the number of instances in which a non-medication first-line treatment was attempted and deemed ineffective, which led to prescribing medication;
  • descriptions of how the VA determines and updates clinical practice guidelines for prescribing medications and of VA efforts to maintain appropriate staffing levels for mental health professionals;
  • the percentage of such veterans with combat experience or related trauma;
  • identification of VA medical facilities with markedly high prescription rates and suicide rates for treated veterans;
  • an analysis of VA programs that collaborate with state Medicaid agencies and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
  • an analysis of VA medical center collaboration with medical examiners' offices or local jurisdictions to determine veteran mortality and cause of death;
  • identification of a best practice model to collect and share veteran death certificate data;
  • an assessment of any apparent patterns based on the review; and
  • recommendations to improve the safety and well-being of veterans.

The VA shall ensure that such data is compiled in a manner that allows it to be analyzed across all data fields for purposes of informing and updating VA clinical practice guidelines.