Secretary Shulkin Delivers His First ‘State of the VA’ Address
WASHINGTON — Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin delivered his first “State of the VA” address today, highlighting the activity and direction of the agency since his appointment in February. In his address, Secretary Shulkin stated that he wanted to update Veterans on the progress the agency is making while also acknowledging the shortcomings that the VA has identified and will address in the upcoming months.
“As a physician, I tend to look at things in terms of the way I was trained — assess, diagnose and then aggressively treat the patient,” Secretary Shulkin said. “Though we are taking immediate and decisive steps, we are still in critical condition and require intensive care.”
The address covered a wide spectrum of issues within the VA, including Access to Care; Community Care and Choice; Accountability; and the quality of care provided to Veterans. Secretary Shulkin identified multiple priorities, such as reducing backlogs and getting more Veterans access to mental health care and suicide prevention programs.
Addressing improvements in accountability and VA administration, Secretary Shulkin stated that while he was able to initiate the Executive Order establishing the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection signed by President Trump, “further legislation is needed and needed now.”
The goal, the Secretary said, is to “turn the VA into the organization Veterans and their families deserve, and one that America can take pride in.”
A fact sheet highlighting some of the elements of Secretary Shulkin’s address as well as the text of his address can be found at: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/StateofVA_FactSheet_5-31-2017.pdf
Monica Valdiviez, Commander Northern Capital Region Chapter, at the 2017 Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony in Washington DC.
Secretary David Shulkin Announces Establishment of Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection and Names Peter O'Rourke as its Senior Advisor and Executive Director
05/12/2017 05:42 PM EDT
Secretary David Shulkin Announces Establishment
of Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection
and Names Peter O’Rourke as its Senior Advisor and Executive Director
WASHINGTON -- Today U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced that he has established the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection in the Department, and that Peter O'Rourke will serve as Senior Advisor and Executive Director of the Office, reporting directly to the Secretary.
This announcement implements the requirements in President Trump's Executive Order signed at the Department on April 27, 2017 in one third of the 45-day timeframe required by the Order.
As detailed in the Executive Order, the Executive Director will:
O’Rourke is a veteran of both the US Navy and Air Force and has held executive roles in non-profit, consulting, and the federal government.
“I am pleased to announce the establishment of this office, fulfilling one of my highest priorities at the Department. We need to hold our employees accountable for their actions if they violate the public trust, and at the same time protect whistleblowers from retaliation,” said Dr. Shulkin. “Setting up this office under the strong leadership of Peter O’Rourke will give us the tools to do just that.”