KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Cleveland Clinic Chief Considered For VA Post

Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, the top executive of one of the nation's most prestigious hospital systems and also a decorated Vietnam veteran, is being considered by the White House, reports The Wall Street Journal. In addition, lawmakers and veterans' groups demand changes, starting with addressing the waiting-list problem.

The Wall Street Journal: White House Considering Cleveland Clinic Head For VA Secretary Post
The White House is considering nominating the chief executive of the Cleveland Clinic to be the next secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, people familiar with the matter said. Delos "Toby" Cosgrove has led one of the nation's most prestigious hospital systems and is a decorated Vietnam veteran. Three people familiar with the matter said the White House has approached Dr. Cosgrove about the position, and two of them said Dr. Cosgrove is seriously considering pursuing the position (Paletta, Weaver and Adamy, 6/3).

Politico: Many Ideas, But Few Names For VA Pick
Veterans’ advocates and lawmakers won’t name their picks for the next Veterans Affairs secretary — but that’s about the only thing they won’t say about the department’s future. Veterans service organizations have long lists of ways they think the VA must reform and the kinds of skills needed to run it. Their positions are as different as the veterans they represent, but they all agree on one thing. “Urgency,” said retired Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of America (Ewing and Herb, 6/3).

McClatchy: Acting VA Secretary Pledges Quick Solution For Scheduling Problems
Sloan Gibson, the acting secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department, on Tuesday acknowledged that “not all veterans are getting access to the healthcare that they have earned” and pledged to make addressing the problems quickly the VA’s top priority. Gibson took over last week when Eric Shinseki, a retired four-star general, resigned following reports of treatment delays and other problems at VA hospitals across the country. Gibson said in his first statement as acting secretary that “systemic problems in scheduling processes have been exacerbated by leadership failures and ethical lapses” (Schoof, 6/3).

Meanwhile, a new poll shows the VA scandal impacting the president's approval ratings -

The Washington Post: Poll: American Back Afghan Pullout, Deeply Concerned By VA Scandal
[A] scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs has united the country in its alarm about the problems, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. … The VA scandal, in contrast, shows no partisan differences and reflects public outrage over reports of long delays for treatment and falsification of records at some veterans’ facilities. The new poll finds a near-unanimous verdict, with 97 percent of Americans describing the problems as serious and 82 percent calling them “very serious” (Balz and Clement, 6/3).

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