President-elect Donald Trump says he intends to nominate David Shulkin to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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Shulkin has been the department's undersecretary for health since 2015, after being nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate. Trump made the announcement at a news conference this morning, marking the first time someone with no military experience could lead the vast organization.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been plagued by controversy over the past several years. One of the largest bureaucracies in the federal government, the department's health system employs more than 300,000 people who serve nearly 9 million veterans per year, according to the agency's website.
“It is my honor to serve as President-elect Trump’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs,” Shulkin said in a statement today. "We are both eager to begin reforming the areas in our Veterans Affairs system that need critical attention, and do it in a swift, thoughtful and responsible way.”
The position was one of Trump's final Cabinet-level roles yet to be announced.
Shulkin told USA Today in December that he has spearheaded a new system to rate veterans' hospitals, adding that 120 of the 146 facilities reviewed have improved in the past 18 months. The article released an internal document identifying the best and worst of the facilities.
Shulkin previously led the University of Pennsylvania's health system and the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. He also served as President at Morristown Medical Center, Goryeb Children’s Hospital, Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute and the Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization, according to his Veterans' Affairs department biography.