VA Initiates Search for New VHA Chief

WASHINGTON– The VA has begun the process of selecting the next head of the VHA, the agency announced this week.

“This is one of the most important jobs in government today,” Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson said in a written statement. “This is the largest integrated healthcare system in the country. We need a leader who will be a change agent and deliver necessary reforms to provide our veterans timely access to the world-class healthcare they’ve earned and deserve.”

VHA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel, MD, stepped down from this position in May. The announcement of his resignation came a day after former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Petzel appeared before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs where they were questioned by lawmakers about treatment delays at the VA hospital in Phoenix. The announcement of Petzel’s resignation by VA was criticized by some who pointed out that Petzel was already scheduled to retire in 2014.

A commission comprised of nine healthcare experts and industry leaders are assessing candidates to serve as the new VHA Under Secretary for Health, VA explained in a statement.

 The VA said that the commission includes:

American Academy of Nursing Fellow Nancy Adams, RN, major general retired

Disabled American Veterans Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine

Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Delos Cosgrove, M.D.

Army Surgeon General Lt. General Patricia Horoho

University of California Davis Health System Distinguished Professor and Director, Institute for Population Health Improvement, Kenneth W. Kizer, M.D., M.P.H.

Virginia Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Jennifer Lee, M.D.

Association of American Medical Colleges Chief Academic Officer John E. Prescott, M.D.

VA Chief of Staff Jose D. Riojas

Veterans of Foreign Wars Executive Director Bob Wallace

Comments (2)

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  1. Robert M says:

    I’ll take the job as VA Sec. Just don’t get in my way if I see you as a non performer and a slacker, who hides behind his or her title. Your out of there. We need someone who will tell like it is, and fire who needs to go.


  2. G. Steven Kalesperis DO, JD says:

    Re: VA Initiates Search for New VHA Chief
    To: Members of the VHA Secretary Selection Commission

    As a physician staff member of the VA for the last three years, my objective observations/recommendation for resolve of “how the VA (VHS/VBA) systems can better serve the veterans and do so in a manner that would mitigate potential fraud, waste and abuse” would be to limit the credentialing of candidates for Secretary of Veteran Affairs (VA Chief) to have the following background experience:
    1. Medical/Osteopathic Physician (MD/DO) training
    2. Veteran-officer with leadership experience (Rank O4+)
    3. Business leadership experience
    (i.e., CEO/Principle/Owner-business/practice/clinic)
    4. Experience with Patient needs, out/in-patient diagnostic procedures, as well as understanding of cost vs budgetary restraint allowances.
    5. Experience with effective & efficient patient scheduling for visits, procedures and timely patient flow and satisfaction.
    6. Understanding and experience with appropriate diagnostic and procedural coding and insurance/third party reimbursements.
    7. Familiarity with Federal and State laws, regulations and guidelines for healthcare providers. Legal training would be helpful, but not required.
    8. Experience as a VHS Medical Healthcare provider with leadership/executive (Departmental Medical Director or COS/ACOS) experience.
    Such individual selected could not only act as VA Chief, but would likely satisfy the credentialing for Surgeon General and thus combine two potential appointments into one.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Dr. G. Steven Kalesperis D.O.,J.D.
    LCDR Navy Reserve (Inactive)
    Medical Director/Service Chief-Examiner/Consultant
    Compensation & Pension Disability Exam Unit
    Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC)
    Houston, TX

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