To the Editor: Washington DC Legislative Activities Update on Written Informed Consent
We must protect our veterans’ mental and physical well-being by ensuring that they receive full and adequate information when they are prescribed the following black box medications – antipsychotics, antidepressants, stimulants, narcotics, and anti-anxiety medications.
This would make it the prescriber’s responsibility to inform the veteran of the various, possible side effects of any medications listed above, as well as any alternate treatment options available to them, including, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, exercise therapy, canine/equine therapy, psychotherapy, etc.
Currently, veterans are only provided with verbal information/consent when being prescribed medications, regardless of any risks associated with that medication. The information provided would be in plain, easily understood language, in addition to the more technical insert that comes packaged with the prescription.
Unfortunately, there is no real way to monitor or enforce this verbal information provision; so, there is no way of ensuring the veteran was informed in a language he/she understands at all.
It is for this reason that we are seeking support for a better, more effective means of providing this critical information by requiring Written Informed Consent. Written Informed Consent would require both the prescriber and the veteran to sign a form stating that both the side effects and any available alternate treatment options were reviewed prior to being dispensed any of the medications listed above.
I worked with the American Legion for some time on this issue. This resulted in the creation of a national resolution by the American Legion, that was later put before their National Board and passed! Here it is: https://archive.legion.org/node/15022
There is also federal, draft legislation to require Written Informed Consent for specific drugs prior to being prescribed for veterans. This legislation will mean, that the VA must administer Written Informed Consent anytime one of the specifically listed Black Box Medications is prescribed.
While in DC, I met with 6 US Congressional offices – all of whom were on the US House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee for Health. Once the draft bill is introduced, this is the subcommittee that the bill will be sent to for review and recommendations. I also met with 2 Republican US Senators personally, who are members of the US Senate Veteran Affairs Committee. (Senator Boozman’s picture is attached.)
I also met with the Chairman of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee who seemed perplexed by the lack of information veterans received regarding the side effects of their prescribed medications and their treatment options. His top aide agreed to review the bill and get back to me. (Senator Tester’s picture is attached.)
I also met with Major General Jeff Phillips, CEO/Executive Director, Reserve Officers Association. He was shocked that Written Informed Consent was not already the law of the land for Veterans. He added that he fully and personally supported the draft legislation and as a result, he agreed to submit a resolution to his national board. He added that Written Informed Consent should also cover Active Military. I agree with him and the Active Military is another public, I plan to address. He also allowed me to interview him in a video on supporting Written Informed Consent. Here is the 2-minute interview:
Update: the draft legislation on Written Informed Consent is now supported by:
The American Legion
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
The Association of the US Navy (AUSN)
Military-Veteran Advocacy (MVA)
Fleet Reserves Association (FRA)
Jewish War Veterans (JWV)
Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA)
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
I’m waiting to hear back from the House and Senate Committee Staff on their thoughts regarding the Draft Legislation.
Meanwhile, if there are any medical doctors who support this idea of Written Informed Consent for Black Box Medications, I have attached a petition, so you can show your support. It has recently been signed by 12 medical doctors and many others are expected to sign on.
Together, we can help protect veterans, by helping to ensure they have the needed information, so they can make a fully informed decision about their personal health matters and their related choices.
Informed Consent Doctor Petition - 27 July 2023.docx
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