Donald Trump Announces VA Secretary
During his scheduled press conference today, Donald Trump announced his pick for VA secretary. As Townhall's Christine Rousselle reports:
Trump has picked David Shulkin, the current Under Secretary for Health for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
If Shulkin is confirmed, he will be the first non-veteran to serve as VA Secretary. Shulkin has served as undersecretary since June 2015. He was previously was the chief executive of many hospital systems.
Shulkin expressed his views on VA reform here. Here's a relevant excerpt we like:
In the nearly 2 years since unacceptable VA waiting times came to light, it’s become apparent that the VA alone cannot meet all the health care needs of U.S. veterans. The VA’s mission and scope are not comparable to those of other U.S. health systems. Few other systems enroll patients in areas where they have no facilities for delivering care. Fewer still provide comprehensive medical, behavioral, and social services to a defined population of patients, establishing lifelong relationships with them. These realities, combined with the wait-time crisis, have led the VA to reexamine its approach to care delivery. The Commission on Care, established by Congress in 2014, was charged with providing insights and recommendations on change in the VA and is considering a number of system-focused proposals for improving care delivery. Later this year, the Commission will present its recommendations to President Barack Obama through the secretary of veterans affairs.
Partnerships with federal and community health care providers may result in better access and broader capabilities than simply relying on the VA’s internal capabilities and current infrastructure — especially given that we expect the need for ambulatory services to increase in the future, while the need for acute inpatient medical, surgical, and rehabilitation services decreases. I believe that addressing veterans’ needs requires a new model of care: rather than remaining primarily a direct care provider, the VA should become an integrated payer and provider. This new vision would compel the VA to strengthen its current components that are uniquely positioned to meet veterans’ needs, while working with the private sector to address critical access issues.