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VA Initiates Search for New VHA Chief

by Sandra Basu

June 20, 2014

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


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