Trump chooses David Shulkin for Secretary of Veterans Affairs post
President-elect Donald Trump announced at a press conference that he has nominated Dr. David Shulkin, the current undersecretary of health for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to be the new Secretary of the agency.
Shulkin stated in a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine that his agency has been working to solve the problems veterans have experienced when seeking care, namely long wait times.
He proposes to approach problems first as a physician, then as an entrepreneur, Shulkin told the Advisory Board in August 2016.
When Shulkin, an experienced hospital administrator, first joined the VA, he learned that a backlog of hundreds of thousands of patients had been waiting for care for more than a month, and he was there when the news broke that VA supervisors had falsified veteran wait times. Since then, he has made access to care and shorter wait times a priority for the agency. He has noted, however, that it wasn’t all bad news. In surveys, 90% of veterans said they were satisfied with their access to healthcare.
He has indicated enthusiasm for some big ideas and a commitment to additional priorities that he established when he first joined the VA. Improving employee satisfaction, changing the agency’s culture to support sharing best practices and regaining veterans’ trust, as well as the general public’s trust, he told the Advisory Board.
He also supports working with strategic partners in the private sector, including other healthcare providers, technology companies and community-based organizations. This perspective dovetails with one of the options Trump recently said he was considering for the VA: a public-private option in which the government would pay the bill for some veterans to receive care outside the VA system.
Having served as undersecretary for the agency, Shulkin may be the candidate most aware of the inner workings of the VA, as well as the person best poised to implement change quickly within this troubled agency.
- New England Journal of Medicine Beyond the VA Crisis — Becoming a High-Performance Network
- Advisory Board How David Shulkin runs America's largest health care system
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- Military Times Trump considering plans for privatizing VA medical options