President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to nominate David Shulkin to be his secretary of veterans affairs.
Shulkin is currently the under secretary for health at the VA, where he runs the Veterans Health Administration. He was nominated for that position by President Barack Obama in March 2015, and confirmed by the Senate that June.
Shulkin, who is a physician, was the chief executive or chief medical officer of several hospitals and hospital systems. He’s also an entrepreneur who founded a healthcare information company called DoctorQuality.
Last year, NPR worked with several member stations to report on the flaws and failures of the VA’s “Veterans Choice” program, which is meant to allow veterans to find private doctors.
As the head of the Veterans Health Administration, Shulkin spoke with NPR about the experiences of veterans left waiting months for treatment under the program.
“When I hear stories like that, it’s completely unacceptable,” he told NPR. “The first responsibility that we have to our veterans is to make sure those that need urgent care are getting care on time.
“This is a different VA,” he said. “We’ve brought in people from the outside who have private sector experience. And what we’re saying is that we have to do business differently. … We know how to make this program work better.”