Data obtained by CIR shows the number of opiate prescriptions at the Tomah VA more than quintupled from 2004 to 2012. Credit: Darren Hauck for CIR

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provided additional details today into its investigation of its hospital in Tomah, Wisconsin, following a report from The Center for Investigative Reporting documenting runaway narcotic prescriptions, retaliatory management and overdose deaths.

A statement released by the VA said that “a clinical review team consisting of specialists” will go to Tomah within two weeks to “review medication prescription practices there.” The internal investigation also would include representatives from the VA’s Office of Accountability Review.

The statement said that while the investigation continued, the hospital’s chief of staff, David Houlihan, had been reassigned to the VA’s regional office and would not be allowed to see patients or prescribe medicine until the investigation had concluded.

Rep. Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat who had asked for the investigation, released a statement praising the decision, saying the public would receive its first update in four to six weeks. He added that he and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, another Wisconsin Democrat, had spoken to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald about problems at the Tomah VA this morning.

“The VA is right to launch a full investigation into opiates being over-prescribed at the Tomah VA, so we can figure out the extent of the problem and work to ensure that it’s resolved as soon as possible,” Kind said.

In its statement, the VA detailed a series of reforms it said it had already undertaken to rein in prescriptions following a scathing inspector general’s report that was finalized last March but not made public.

The VA said it had already stripped Houlihan of his most complex patients, removed him as co-chair of the hospital’s pain committee and realigned the facility’s management structure so that pharmacists no longer directly reported to him.

Aaron Glantz was a senior reporter at Reveal. He is the author of "Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream." Glantz produces journalism with impact. His work has sparked more than a dozen congressional hearings, numerous laws and criminal probes by the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Pentagon and Federal Trade Commission. A two-time Peabody Award winner, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, multiple Emmy Award nominee and former John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, Glantz has had his work has appear in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America and PBS NewsHour. His previous books include "The War Comes Home" and "How America Lost Iraq."