The Obama administration's nominee for Veterans Affairs undersecretary for health was approved Tuesday by a voice vote of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and now goes before the full Senate for confirmation.
Dr. David Shulkin, president of the Atlantic Health System's 662-bed Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center since 2010, appeared before the committee at a May 5 hearing along with LaVerne Council, President Barack Obama's nominee to be VA assistant secretary for information and technology. Council's nomination was also endorsed by the panel Tuesday.
At the hearing, Shulkin promised to follow through on plans to offer seamless care between the VA and the Defense Department and to work toward ending homelessness among veterans and to prevent suicides. Senators then also addressed several issues facing the VA, including construction overruns at a Colorado hospital and healthcare reforms to address access issues.
Shulkin is the son of an Army psychiatrist and was born at the Fort Sheridan U.S. Army base in Illinois north of Chicago.
Shulkin, an internist, made Modern Healthcare's list of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders three times, with his highest placement being No. 12 in 2008.
“The Veterans Health Administration faces several serious, ongoing issues, particularly the implementation of the Veterans Choice Act,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), chairman of the committee, said in a news release. “The VA's information technology program has often experienced project failures, cost overruns and security mismanagement. If confirmed, I look forward to working with Dr. Shulkin and Ms. Council to address these issues and ensure that the VA is well-equipped to deliver the best possible care and services to our veterans.”
Council was corporate vice president and chief Information officer at Johnson & Johnson from 2006 to 2011 until she started her own company, Council Advisory Services, in 2012. She is the daughter of a U.S. Navy veteran and her stepfather was a 20-year Army veteran.
Dr. Carolyn Clancy, who had been appointed assistant deputy undersecretary for health for quality, safety and value, is serving as interim undersecretary for health.