Tester Questions VA Secretary Nominee Dr. David Shulkin

Senator to Help Lead Shulkin’s Confirmation Hearing as Ranking Member of Veterans’ Affairs Committee

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today met one-on-one with President Trump’s VA Secretary nominee Dr. David Shulkin to ask questions and discuss solutions to the specific challenges veterans are experiencing with the VA.

Tester pressed Shulkin about President Trump’s plans to privatize the VA, and proposals to shift resources away from VA hospitals and clinics. Tester also pushed Shulkin to identify his priorities for increasing access to care for veterans, and asked him to work with Congress to prioritize fixing the Choice program, streamlining the VA’s numerous Community Care initiatives, and addressing the VA’s chronic medical workforce shortages.

“Montanans serve in our armed forces at a higher rate than most any other state in the country, and veterans need a VA Secretary who understands the unique challenges they face every day,” Tester said. “I will work closely with Dr. Shulkin to strengthen the VA, fix the Choice Program, push inept third party administrators like Health Net out of the way, streamline Care in the Community initiatives, and reduce wait times for the men and women who have answered the call to duty.”

Tester during the meeting sought Shulkin’s commitment to fix the Veterans Choice Program before its authorization expires later this year, and urged him to hold the Veterans’ Choice Program’s third party administrators, like Health Net, more accountable to veterans and local health care providers.

Tester authored the Improving Access to Care in the Community Act last year to fix the Veterans Choice Program, which Shulkin endorsed during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing.

Tester earlier this month demanded that Health Net quickly respond to the concerns of Montana veterans and health care providers, but has yet to receive a response from the Veterans Choice Program’s third party administrators.

Shulkin has served as Under Secretary of Health at the VA since 2015, and prior to that, he spent more than 20 years as a hospital administrator.