Arlington, VA – The former chief of staff and acting medical director at the Tomah VA – also known as the “Candy Man” – is legally banned from practicing medicine in Wisconsin ever again after over-prescribing narcotics for years. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services has revoked Dr. Houlihan’s license.
The VA Medical Center in Tomah has made a reputation as one of the worst in the nation. It is the scene of a massive scandal in which veterans were over-prescribed narcotics, in some cases toxic cocktails.
Wednesday, Safety and Professional Services confirmed Houlihan failed to provide appropriate care to at least 22 veterans during his time at the medical center. As a result of years of Houlihan’s misconduct and corruption, the Tomah facility earned the nickname “Candy Land.”
It’s been over two years since Ryan Honl, a former Tomah VA employee, blew the whistle on Dr. Houlihan and helped to bring to light allegations of widespread misconduct.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Deputy Director Nate Anderson issued the following statement:
“The ‘Candy Land’ tragedy has taken years to resolve, thanks to the negligence of VA bureaucrats and neglect of Sen. Baldwin. During that time, the health of Wisconsin veterans who rely on the VA for care has been put at serious risk. We’re glad Dr. Houlihan’s run has come to an end, but getting rid of employees who put the lives of veterans in danger should not be so difficult. Meanwhile, veterans who are being underserved or mistreated by the VA should have the right to seek care elsewhere.”
Most recently, problems in Tomah occurred when the VA announced that a dentist at the facility was using tools that had not be sterilized properly and that nearly 600 patients are in danger of infection for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act would make it easier to fire bad VA employees. Currently, it can often take over a year to fire a bad VA employee –including those who have engaged in criminal acts.