Senate Unanimously Approves Carmona as Surgeon General
The Senate yesterday unanimously voted to confirm Dr. Richard Carmona as surgeon general, despite questions about his qualifications raised during his Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing earlier this month, the Arizona Daily Star reports. Carmona, an Arizona trauma surgeon, will be sworn in to the job in seven to 10 days, according to Bill Pierce, an HHS spokesperson (Davis, Arizona Daily Star, 7/24). Carmona succeeds David Satcher, whose term expired in February (Wall Street Journal, 7/24). As surgeon general, Carmona will have a small staff and "limited legal powers." However, occupants of the position have typically used the office as a "bully pulpit" to address "big public health issues," a tradition Carmona said he intends to follow. Carmona said during testimony that he will focus on fighting smoking, obesity, diabetes and the spread of infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS (Arizona Daily Star, 7/24). Carmona also will be commissioned as a three-star admiral in the public health corps, in charge of more than 5,600 commissioned officers (Garvey, Los Angeles Times, 7/24). HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a statement, "Dr. Carmona will be a strong and vigorous leader in our efforts to combat chronic conditions and lead this nation to better health" (HHS release, 7/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.