Trump Selects Insider to Lead VA
January 22, 2017 Veterans Corner by Ronald Verini
Well, lots of talk around the coffee table lately, on who was going to be President Trumps pick to head the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. And just last week the current Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health, Dr. David Shulkin, was tapped to serve as U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs.
Dr. Shulkin has been the current Undersecretary for Health for about a year and a half. Seems that Dr. Shulkin has been especially working on cutting the wait-time and establishing ‘same-day care’ in all 167 VA Medical Facilities. This action goes hand in hand with Trumps goal to not have an extended wait time for care. Guess we will see if the ability to choose care ‘outside’ of the VA system will be continued and improved, especially for those veterans that reside in Rural Areas, such as here where we are located.
Dr. Shulkin has mentioned in many interviews that he specifically is in favor of being able to continue care that the VA ‘specializes’ in, specifically those situations dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), and Warriors who have lost limbs. But also commented on discontinuing services that the private sector could ‘better provide’, such as Obstetrics, Gynecology and so forth. Also, addressing the ‘wait-time’ problem, he proposed last spring giving full practice authority to nurses with advanced training. This was an idea that the VA doctors pushed back on, though this regulation would go a long way to ensure that the VA would have authority to address staffing shortages in the future.
He has also been very vocal about the ‘challenges’ that the VA is faced with, especially the ability to attract talented and experienced Doctors from the private sector. And his own situation certainly exemplifies that problem; Dr. Shulkin quit a $1.3 million dollar a year job, to take the $170,000 a year position with the VA !!!!
Though he is not a veteran his family has a very long military service history and military medical care history. Both of his Grandfathers served in WWI, and one of his Grandfathers was the Chief Pharmacist at the VA in Madison, Wisconsin. His father was an Army Captain who served as a Psychiatrist. A little background on Dr. Shulkin’s career mentions his MD degree from the medical College of Pennsylvania, his internship at Yale School of Medicine and residency at the University of Pittsburgh Presbyterian Medical Center. A few of the Honors and Awards Dr. Shulkin has received include; National Health Policy Fellow, US Senate Committee on Aging; named one of the top Health Care Leaders for this century by ‘Modern Healthcare’.
We certainly hope that Dr. Shulkin will have the courage and resources to see that our Nations Veterans will have a system of care that they deserve!
For those of you veterans that have not yet signed up for your VA Benefits, or have questions regarding them, there are a few places you can contact to get information and registered with our Regional VA Facility in Boise, Idaho.
The Boise Idaho VA Medical Center is located at 500 W Fort St., Boise, Idaho 83702. The main telephone number is 201-422-1000. There are several outlying “Outpatient Clinics” that are affiliated with the main Boise VA Facility. They are; Cladwell Idaho Outpatient Clinic at 208-454-4820; Mountain Home Idaho Outpatient Clinic at 208-580-2001.
For Veterans in Malheur County needing assistance, there is our Malheur County Veteran Service Officer (VSO), Mr. Connie Tanaka, #316 Goodfellow St. #4, Ontario, Or 97914 at 541-889-6649.
For Veterans in Payette County Idaho and vicinity, contact Ms. Marsha Morgensen, 824 N 8th St (at the Payette County Courthouse) 208-642-6010 x 116.
And for general questions and information and coffee and camaraderie you are always welcome at the Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida, 180 W Idaho Ave, Ontario, Or. 541-889-1978.
“You can’t be successful at an organizational turn around unless you have the hearts and the minds of the people that work with you.” Dr. David Shulkin, US Department of Veteran Affairs