Senator: VA retaliating against Missouri whistleblower

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A Wisconsin senator has accused the Department of Veterans of Affairs of firing a doctor for speaking out about alleged shortcomings at a Missouri VA hospital and then thwarting his efforts to get hired at another VA site.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson heads the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He wrote in a recent letter to the VA’s acting secretary that the department should “cease all retaliatory actions” against Dr. Dale Klein.

Klein was hired in 2015 to be a pain-management doctor at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff. Nearly four months into the job, he reported to the VA’s watchdog his worries that patients were selling their medications and that the VA wasn’t doing enough to halt it, according to the Office of Special Counsel.

He was fired last April, but at the OSC’s urging, his ouster has been repeatedly delayed. He works in a non-physician role now.