The former chief of staff of the Tomah VA Medical Center has agreed to permanently surrender his license to practice medicine in Wisconsin.
Officials said the Tomah, Wisconsin, VA medical facility’s former director is no longer working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the latest development after our investigation of the hospital’s improper prescription practices.
Federal investigators have confirmed that a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs killed Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski, a psychiatric patient at the Tomah, Wisconsin, veterans hospital known as “Candy Land” for its rampant use of opiates.
Ryan Honl, a Gulf War veteran who quit his job at the Tomah, Wisconsin, veterans hospital after becoming aware of rampant opiate overprescription there, said the problems would only continue if a new watchdog was found within the agency.
Department of Veterans Affairs’ Deputy Inspector General Richard Griffin had been under fire for more than a year over problems at VA hospitals, including the overprescription of opiates at the Tomah, Wisconsin, facility dubbed “Candy Land.”
A congressional hearing today revealed more unexpected deaths at the Tomah, Wisconsin, VA – known as “Candy Land” for the ease with which narcotic painkillers were prescribed – during Dr. David Houlihan’s decade as the hospital’s chief of staff.
Nearly 100,000 veterans currently are receiving prescriptions for both tranquilizers and narcotic painkillers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a potentially deadly combination that is explicitly discouraged by agency guidelines.
Our investigation disclosing skyrocketing opiate prescriptions and retaliatory management practices at a VA medical center in Wisconsin touched off a variety of federal and state government investigations.