- Due to his commitment to the Cleveland Clinic, the hospital’s CEO, Toby Cosgrove, MD, withdrew his name from consideration for the post of secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a source told Bloomberg.
- Cosgrove also serves on an advisory panel for Trump, a role that will presumably continue.
- This leaves President-elect Donald Trump with several candidates for the role, among the last Cabinet-level positions to be filled.
For the second time, Dr. Toby Cosgrove has opted to remain at the Cleveland Clinic rather than lead the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs. He first declined the position in 2014, when the Obama administration approached him after the Phoenix VA Health Care System scandal that led to the resignation of then-Secretary Eric Shinseki.
The VA System faces continued challenges in the wake of the scandal, with poor patient experiences and slow improvements in key areas such as wait times and access to primary care. Despite the slow pace of change, a number of veterans groups favor keeping the current VA Secretary, Robert McDonald, the Military Times reported.
A number of other candidates are still under consideration, but the next most likely choice for the position is Luis Quinonez, CEO of IQ Management Services, a health services contractor, according to the Bloomberg report. Like Cosgrove, who served in the Air Force, Quinonez is a military veteran. Born in Guatemala, if chosen to head the VA, he will be the first Hispanic official to garner a Cabinet-level position in the Trump administration.
Trump was originally expected to announce the nomination before Christmas.