Veterans Affairs Nominee Vows To 'Seek Major Reform' Of The Agency
President Donald Trump's nominee to run the Veterans Affairs Department says there are no easy fixes for what ails that beleaguered agency.
At his confirmation hearing today, Dr. David Shulkin vowed to, "seek major reform and a transformation of the VA."
"There will be far greater accountability, dramatically improved access, responsiveness and expanded care options, but the department of Veteran Affairs will not be privatized under my watch," Shulkin said.
Montana's senior U.S. Senator Jon Tester is ranking member on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee:
"If I’m, a veteran and I’ve got a problem – say it’s a cold – and I want to go to my local doc, are you going to let me do that, or are you going to say 'no, I’ve got to go to the local VA Facility if there’s one down the block'," Tester asked.
"For someone who needs to see their doctor that day, they should be seen," Shulkin responded. "If they can't be seen by the VA, they should be seen in their community."
Shulkin emphasized he was specifically referring to same-day treatment for urgent care needs. He added there are other treatment options for less urgent medical needs.
Shulkin also says the White House agreed to offer the VA exemptions to the federal hiring freeze. Out of the 45,000 VA vacancies, he says 37,000 were exempted.