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President-elect Donald Trump has selected Dr. David Shulkin, a former New York City hospital executive, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin, currently the undersecretary for health at the VA, ran Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan from...

Trump nominates former Beth Israel CEO to head Veterans Affairs

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Dr. David Shulkin, a former New York City hospital executive, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin, currently the undersecretary for health at the VA, ran Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan from...

Trump nominates former Beth Israel CEO to head Veterans Affairs

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Dr. David Shulkin, a former New York City hospital executive, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shulkin, currently the undersecretary for health at the VA, ran Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan from 2005 to 2009. Shulkin, as head of the Veterans Health Administration, oversees a 300,000-employee health system that serves about 8.8 million veterans at more than 1,700 locations, including three VA hospitals in New York City. If he is confirmed as secretary of veterans affairs, he would be the first non-veteran to lead the department as well as the first Obama administration official to take on a Cabinet role under Trump.

"He's fantastic. He will do a truly great job," Trump said Wednesday during a news conference in Manhattan. "One of the commitments I made is that we're going to straighten out the whole situation for our veterans. Our veterans have been treated horribly. They're waiting in line for 15, 16, 17 days, cases where they go in and they have a minor early stage form of cancer and they can't see a doctor. By the time they get to the doctor, they're terminal. Not going to happen; it's not going to happen.

"We're going to straighten out the VA for our veterans. I've been promising that for a long time," Trump continued.

In December, USA Today reported on the Veterans Health Administration's performance with respect to quality since 2014, calling it a "mixed bag." Two years ago, President Barack Obama overhauled leadership at the department following reports that officials tried to cover up long wait times for veterans to see a doctor.

Trump has previously said he wants to expand the availability of private health care for veterans. In 2015, Shulkin made comments opposing a reduction in the federal government's role in veterans' health care, according to The Washington Post.

A unanimous confirmation to become undersecretary in 2015 sets the stage for a potential smooth Senate confirmation hearing for Shulkin's new role.

Earlier in his career, Shulkin spent five years as president of Morristown Medical Center, a 700-bed acute-care hospital in Morristown, N.J. Before that, he spent four years as president and chief executive of Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan.

In 2008, a year before he left Beth Israel, the hospital had a $20 million surplus, Crain's reported at the time.

Mount Sinai acquired Beth Israel in 2013, as part of a merger with Continuum Health Partners. Last year Mount Sinai Health System announced it would significantly downsize Beth Israel after the hospital and its affiliates lost $115 million in 2015.

Laurel Pickering, president and chief executive of the Northeast Business Group on Health, a coalition of employers, called Shulkin "an excellent choice." She'd interacted with Shulkin during his time as a hospital executive in New York and New Jersey.

"His heart is in the right place when it comes to balancing quality of care, patient safety and cost," she said.

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Dr. David Shulkin, a former New York City hospital executive, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shulkin, currently the undersecretary for health at the VA, ran Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan from 2005 to 2009. Shulkin, as head of the Veterans Health Administration, oversees a 300,000-employee health system that serves about 8.8 million veterans at more than 1,700 locations, including three VA hospitals in New York City. If he is confirmed as secretary of veterans affairs, he would be the first non-veteran to lead the department as well as the first Obama administration official to take on a Cabinet role under Trump.

"He's fantastic. He will do a truly great job," Trump said Wednesday during a news conference in Manhattan. "One of the commitments I made is that we're going to straighten out the whole situation for our veterans. Our veterans have been treated horribly. They're waiting in line for 15, 16, 17 days, cases where they go in and they have a minor early stage form of cancer and they can't see a doctor. By the time they get to the doctor, they're terminal. Not going to happen; it's not going to happen.

"We're going to straighten out the VA for our veterans. I've been promising that for a long time," Trump continued.

In December, USA Today reported on the Veterans Health Administration's performance with respect to quality since 2014, calling it a "mixed bag." Two years ago, President Barack Obama overhauled leadership at the department following reports that officials tried to cover up long wait times for veterans to see a doctor.

Trump has previously said he wants to expand the availability of private health care for veterans. In 2015, Shulkin made comments opposing a reduction in the federal government's role in veterans' health care, according to The Washington Post.

A unanimous confirmation to become undersecretary in 2015 sets the stage for a potential smooth Senate confirmation hearing for Shulkin's new role.

Earlier in his career, Shulkin spent five years as president of Morristown Medical Center, a 700-bed acute-care hospital in Morristown, N.J. Before that, he spent four years as president and chief executive of Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan.

In 2008, a year before he left Beth Israel, the hospital had a $20 million surplus, Crain's reported at the time.

Mount Sinai acquired Beth Israel in 2013, as part of a merger with Continuum Health Partners. Last year Mount Sinai Health System announced it would significantly downsize Beth Israel after the hospital and its affiliates lost $115 million in 2015.

Laurel Pickering, president and chief executive of the Northeast Business Group on Health, a coalition of employers, called Shulkin "an excellent choice." She'd interacted with Shulkin during his time as a hospital executive in New York and New Jersey.

"His heart is in the right place when it comes to balancing quality of care, patient safety and cost," she said.

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