Shulkin ex­pected to be eas­ily con­firmed to lead the VA

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Joseph Conn

Bar­ring the un­ex­pected, Dr. David Shulkin is ex­pected to have an easy time at his Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing this week to be­come sec­re­tary of the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs De­part­ment.

Shulkin was ap­pointed by for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in 2015 and quickly con­firmed as the VA’s un­der­sec­re­tary for health to lead the vast Vet­er­ans Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

But given ini­tial re­sponse to his nom­i­na­tion, Shulkin won’t get much flak from Se­nate Repub­li­cans. Shulkin has al­ready met with Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Com­mit­tee Chair­man Johnny Isak­son (R-Ga.), who gushed about Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­nee.

“As the un­der­sec­re­tary for health at the VA, Dr. Shulkin is no stranger to the work that needs to be done to bring ac­count­abil­ity to the de­part­ment,” Isak­son said in a web­site post. “I be­lieve Dr. Shulkin to be a pas­sion­ate vet­er­ans’ ad­vo­cate who will work to trans­form the VA and en­sure our vet­er­ans get the timely, qual­ity care and sup­port they de­serve.”

A state­ment on the web­site of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the rank­ing mem­ber of the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, said the se­na­tor pressed Shulkin dur­ing a one-on-one meet­ing about Trump’s an­nounced plans to pri­va­tize the VA and “shift re­sources away from VA hos­pi­tals and clin­ics.”

Tester also asked Shulkin to pri­or­i­tize fix­ing the Vet­er­ans Choice pro­gram that en­ables more vet­er­ans to seek care at hos­pi­tals and physi­cian of­fices out­side the VHA.

But Tester noted that Shulkin en­dorsed a bill the se­na­tor au­thored last year, the Im­prov­ing Vet­er­ans Ac­cess to Care in the Com­mu­nity Act, which aimed to fix prob­lems with the Choice Pro­gram.

Shulkin also is seen as a booster of a plan to de­velop a dig­i­tal health plat­form us­ing cloud-based com­puter sys­tems to im­prove in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal in­for­ma­tion ex­change through­out the VHA.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.