Former Tomah VA Chief of Staff Has Medical License Suspended

Tomah VA Whistleblower says Board's decision is "a long time coming"

The Veterans Administration Medical Center in Tomah.  Maureen McCollum/WPR

The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board has suspended the medical license of the former chief of staff at the embattled Tomah VA Medical Center afer a hearing on Wednesday.

Documents presented by the state Department of Safety and Professional Services said Dr. David Houlihan created an “unacceptable risk of harm to patients.”

Houlihan was officially fired from the Tomah VA last November after an investigation found overprescription of narcotics and other misconduct at the medical center. In February, he opened a private practice in downtown La Crosse.

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Ryan Honl, a former employee at the Tomah VA and a whistleblower who brought public attention to illegal activities at the facility, said he’s happy the state compiled an extensive investigation into Houlihan’s work.

“It’s obviously a good thing that he’s unable to practice anywhere and I’m glad the state of Wisconsin jumped on it,” Honl said.

Honl said he’s hopeful the Tomah VA will recover from the numerous allegations of misconduct that have come to light since the death of U.S.Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski in August 2014.

“I hope that this will kind of signal a new beginning (at the Tomah VA) because the veterans deserve that,” Honl said.

Houlihan didn’t return requests for comment.