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VA, CMS to Improve Safety Surveillance of Meds Given to Veterans

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they will come together and work to improve drug safety monitoring of prescriptions, including opioids, that are given to veterans.

“VA is committed to patient safety, and our robust medication surveillance systems are part of that commitment,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. 

“This agreement greatly enhances medication safety for veterans by providing better oversight of drugs that veterans may be able to obtain from both agencies,” Mr Wilkie expressed.

The agreement among the two agencies allows the VA to monitor medical prescriptions issued outside the VA through Medicare Part D.

“By incorporating prescriptions dispensed through Medicare, VA has access to more accurate information about the medications used by its patients,” the VA explained.

Currently, the VA has a system in place for medication surveillance to ensure safe use. According to the VA, more than 5 million veterans receive prescription drugs through the agency. The system also allows the VA to analyze patient outcomes. According to the agency, this agreement allows the VA to incorporate up-to-date Medicare prescription information into its safety surveillance operations.

“This agreement represents a new level of information sharing between VA and CMS, which will improve care coordination and better protect our beneficiaries,” said Kimberly Brandt, CMS principal deputy administrator for Operations and Policy.

“Leveraging data is a key element of CMS’ efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, and we look forward to continued collaboration with VA on this important issue.”

This agreement was formalized on March 21, 2019.—Julie Gould

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