Montana VA hires dentist; another still paid, not practicing

    Veterans Affairs

    The Montana Veterans Affairs Health Care System has hired a dentist to reopen its Billings clinic while a dentist who filed a complaint about how the clinic was being managed is still being paid, but not allowed to practice.

    Billings VA Clinic assistant director Kirby Osler tells The Billings Gazette the clinic hired a dentist in December.

    Dentist Kelly Hale filed a complaint arguing the way the clinic was managed caused delays in service and risked patient health. Shortly after Hale was identified as the whistleblower in late 2016 he was terminated for misconduct. The Billings VA dental clinic was closed in 2017.

    The U.S. Office of Special Counsel found Hale's misconduct review may have been retaliatory and put his termination on hold. His case is still under review. His salary was $176,000 in 2017.

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