Military Healthcare Organization Questions VA Secretary Pick Citing Concerns Over Trump Administration's Support of Privatization

January 17th, 2016

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On Wednesday, Jan. 10th, President-elect Donald Trump announced Dr. David J. Shulkin, current Under Secretary for Health for Veterans Affairs (VA), as his nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The Military Health Project & Foundation (MHPF) - a California-based, non-partisan organization devoted to the increased access and improved quality of healthcare services for the military and veteran communities, has expressed moderate concern regarding this decision.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is a very large system that is severely fractured. We are hopeful that Dr. Shulkin will consider a full-scale integration of every hospital and clinic within the Department’s purview, including new technology and systems designed to increase overall efficiency. The VA has come under siege in recent years, and while there has been a lot of progress in addressing a multitude of issues, there is still much work to be done,” Jacob Angel, Founder & President of the Military Health Project & Foundation, said.

Dr. Shulkin’s record as Under Secretary was successful, but the VA is still plagued by a massive backlog of claims that have transformed into appeals.

“We are particularly interested in Dr. Shulkin’s stance on privatization of the VA system, being that privatization is a priority for the Trump Administration. It is our belief, as well as the belief of our supporters and program beneficiaries, that privatization is the largest threat facing the Veterans Administration. It will be the biggest test of Dr. Shulkin’s competence moving forward. We have every interest in working with Dr. Shulkin to improve the system for the veteran community and hope to establish a positive relationship with the incoming administration," Angel explained.

The Military Health Project & Foundation — in addition to its mission — seeks to establish true parity between mental and physical healthcare within the Veterans Administration. The organization is hopeful that the incoming Administration will take a strong look at parity between mental and physical healthcare.

"Mental and physical healthcare have long been treated as separate areas of medicine, yet mind and body are connected. It is about time we looked at healthcare from that perspective. Although it is beneficial to address a physical ailment, a practice the world of medicine has been successful with, when it comes to our mental health we are falling short. We are all different, and methods of treatment should be reflective of those diverse characteristics. I, along with everyone on the MHPF Board, am committed to ensuring that there are high quality and diverse services available when it comes to the mental and physical health of our veterans. Whether a program meets the needs of one person or one thousand people, the cost is worth it, especially when it concerns issues such as ending veteran suicide. This goal is a top priority for us and we hope it will be for the Administration," Angel added.

The Military Health Project & Foundation is eager to work with the Trump Administration and all appointees to solve the problems within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.