KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) – As millions anxiously wait for the COVID-19 vaccine, a Kansas City psychiatrist is accused of helping people cut in line. It’s a move that could have put some healthy people months ahead of those at risk.
Two healthcare whistleblowers contacted WDAF-TV saying dozens of ineligible people were gaming the system by posing as employees of psychiatrist Micaela Wexler.
According to Kansas’ vaccine guidelines, doctors, nurses, and others working in a healthcare setting, along with nursing home patients, were supposed to be the only ones currently eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1.
But the two whistleblowers said actors, financial advisors, and other acquaintances of Wexler and even of her ex-husband, Victor Wexler, were listed as eligible after they claimed to be working for the doctor’s practice.
Victor Wexler declined to comment regarding that accusation.
According to both whistleblowers, 30 people arrived last Wednesday alone at the vaccine clinic claiming to be Wexler’s employees. Some were unable to correctly pronounce Wexler’s name. Another seven came to the clinic Thursday. Others, they said, had arrived earlier in the week.
Wexler is a psychiatrist with an office in Kansas City, Kansas. There is no sign marking it as a medical office, no one answered the door and mail was piled up in a box outside.
Wexler also couldn’t be found at her Leawood home, where there was a for-sale sign outside. A neighbor said he thought she had moved to Texas a couple of months ago.
Just last week, however, Wexler sent an email to Wyandotte County’s health department with a list of eight names after being asked by the department whether she had any more employees who needed to be vaccinated.
Wexler did not respond to voicemails and emails asking for comment.
Wexler’s website, however, is still active, and she is reportedly seeing client’s remotely.
A spokeswoman for Wyandotte County confirmed that ineligible people received vaccines after being referred by Wexler’s office.
“There was a small group of folks who came in after signing up through this practice who did not meet Phase 1 eligibility criteria,” Janet Friesen said.
“Our staff quickly identified the issue and have since resolved it with full cooperation from Dr. Wexler and other leadership in the clinical practice… We have worked with about 250 healthcare organizations so far to get their workers vaccinated, and we haven’t had any other issues come up like this so far”, said Friesen.
The two whistleblowers blamed lax Kansas vaccine procedures for the alleged scheme. They said Wyandotte County’s public health department, as with most Kansas health departments, did not require proof of employment for people getting vaccinated.
The whistleblowers said the county changed its vaccination protocol last week after the Wexler incident. It now requires proof of employment. The health department said it did not plan to pursue any sanctions against Wexler.