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‘Candy Man’ Doctor And Former Tomah VA Chief Of Staff Forced To Surrender Medical License

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The former chief of staff at the Tomah VA Medical Center said he will surrender his medical license to the state to avoid further investigation into his time spent doling out copious amounts of opioids to vets at the facility.

David Houlihan, infamously referred to veterans as the “candy man,” said he would never again reapply for a medical license in Wisconsin and plans to shut down his La Crosse practice within 30 days, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“I believe he has no business treating our nation’s veterans or any citizen in Wisconsin, so this is welcome news,” Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin said in response to the news of Houlihan’s license.

Houlihan was fired from the Tomah VA in November 2015, having been on leave since January of that same year, while officials investigated claims that he prescribed an extreme amount of painkillers to patients and retaliated against any medical staff who disagreed with his practices. He was ultimately fired for not providing adequate treatment to 20 veterans.

In March 2016, the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board suspended his medical license. His prescription policies at a board hearing were referred to as “downright dangerous.”

An attorney for the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services said that Houlihan met the standard of care for just two patients out of a sample size of 27.

The Houlihan debacle started gaining steam in January 2015, when the Center for Investigative Reporting published a piece highlighting Houlihan’s prescription policies, which came after an inspector general report in 2014 found high levels of drugs being handed out.

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, head of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said Wednesday that Wisconsin’s investigation into Houlihan confirmed his own committee’s report on the matter.

“As my committee’s investigation also found, the Tomah VAMC and Dr. Houlihan repeatedly failed to honor this nation’s promises to the finest among us,” Johnson said.

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