Veterans Affairs Nominee Tells Senate Change Needed at VA
Jun 22, 2015
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 22, 2015 – The Obama administration’s nominee for undersecretary of health at the Department of Veterans Affairs did not mince words at his confirmation hearing before a Senate committee.
“The VA needs change,” Dr. David Shulkin told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, acknowledging a host of problems at the agency in recent years, including lengthy wait times for veterans, lack of accountability, and ballooning construction costs. He said the agency needed “more doctors, more nurses, and greater efficiency from its current systems.”
James G. Fausone, an attorney at Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, Michigan, could not agree more.
“It’s plain to see that the VA, while having improved quite a bit in recent years, still has a long way to go in serving our veterans,” Fausone said. “Dr. Shulkin is certainly an accomplished physician, and appears to be well-versed in the issues facing the agency, but confirming a new undersecretary of health is just one small step toward broader progress.”
The hearing was largely friendly, but senators asked Shulkin to speak to some recent problems at the VA. Sen. Richard Blumenthal brought up the construction at the VA hospital in Denver, which has overrun cost projections by nearly $1 billion, calling it “a monument to ineptitude in construction.” Blumenthal asked Shulkin what he thought of the VA’s plan to use money from a reform bill passed last year to complete the project.
“I would make sure any solution doesn’t come at the expense of treatment of veterans,” Shulkin answered.
Shulkin is an internal medicine specialist who currently serves as president of the Morristown Medical Center. He has headed major medical centers as CEO or chief medical officer for nearly 25 years. He said his experience in business matters would help him in working with VA Secretary Robert McDonald to improve care.
“Shulkin seems a good choice for the position,” Fausone added. “He and Secretary McDonald will have to work together to change the culture at the VA.”
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