David Shulkin Picked to Replace McDonald as New VA Secretary
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 14, 2017 - President Donald Trump announced the selection of David Shulkin as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in January. The decision ended a lengthy search for a qualified individual to lead the sprawling federal agency that comprises a nationwide network of 1,700 medical facilities.
Trump said he and his transition team interviewed “at least 100 people” to find the right person to take on the responsibility of improving veterans care. They ultimately decided to look for someone inside the VA. The decision means Shulkin, 57, would be the first serving VA secretary who is a non-veteran. He is a physician who worked as VA undersecretary for health under the Obama administration for approximately 18 months.
“As VA secretary, David Shulkin will now have full responsibility over the agency,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “The hope is that he will work in the best interests of veterans. Although the leadership is changing, the problems remain the same, whether it is a shortage of nurses and doctors or the disability claims backlog.”
Shulkin is a board-certified internist and American College of Physicians fellow. Before joining the government, he held leadership posts at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Drexel University College of Medicine and Temple University Hospital.
In appointing Shulkin, Trump passed over current VA Secretary Robert McDonald. His selection was welcomed as a sign of continuity by several large veterans groups like Veterans of Foreign Wars and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. However, the latter voiced concerns about the prospect of a non-veteran leading the VA for the first time in history.
“His [Shulkin’s] sole mandate will be to serve our veterans and restore the level of care we owe to our brave men and women in the military,” Trump said at his first post-election press conference. “Sadly our great veterans have not gotten the level of care they deserve, but Dr. Shulkin has the experience and the vision to ensure we will meet the health care needs of every veteran.”
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