Firing Of Tomah VA Chief Of Staff Leaves Whistleblower Feeling Ambivalent

VA Announced Decision To Remove David Houlihan Last Week

Maureen McCollum/WPR

The Department of Veterans Affairs officially fired the chief of staff at the Tomah VA last week, but one whistleblower worries the doctor’s removal won’t address the bigger problems in the VA system.

Dr. David Houlihan was the second official to be removed from the Tomah VA since the start of a VA’s investigation in January that looked into allegations of overmedication of patients, and a culture of fear among workers there.

Some of those allegations were brought forth by Ryan Honl, a former employee at the Tomah VA who blew the whistle on the facility. He said he has mixed emotions about Houlihan’s firing.

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“I’m glad that he was finally terminated and actually a little bit surprised about it,” he said. “But on the flip side of the coin, it’s practically taken an act of Congress to get this guy out of federal service. That just can not be the status quo moving forward.”

Honl said he hopes the lengthy process to remove Houlihan will draw attention to the VA system’s problems with accountability.

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