Tester Statement on Senate Confirmation of Shereef Elnahal to be VA Under Secretary for Health

The Senate today voted to confirm Dr. Shereef Elnahal to be the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Under Secretary for Health with strong backing from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, who released the following statement:

“Dr. Shereef Elnahal has an impressive record of leading health care systems and agencies, and has shown a strong commitment to serving millions of veterans and hardworking employees at VA. Now more than ever, the Department needs permanent, qualified leadership to guide the nation’s largest integrated health care system in the right direction. I look forward to working with him in his new role to implement needed reforms to ensure veterans have access to the timely health care and services they’ve earned.”

Tester took to the Senate floor today ahead of the vote to urge his colleagues to support the nominee.

In May, Tester called on his colleagues to put aside partisan politics and confirm the bipartisan nominee following a political hold on his confirmation. He also led the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in unanimously advancing President Biden’s pick to lead the Veterans Health Administration, a role that has been without permanent leadership since 2017. In this role, Elnahal will oversee the VA health care system—providing care to more than nine million veterans and employing more than 347,000 health care workers.

In a Committee oversight hearing yesterday on the VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) Program, Tester underscored the critical role the Under Secretary for Health will play in overseeing needed changes for the EHRM Program to best serve veterans and taxpayers, and reiterated his call to confirm Dr. Elnahal.

Dr. Elnahal is a physician who most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey from 2019 through 2022. Prior to this role, Elnahal served as New Jersey’s 21st Health Commissioner. He also served as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Quality, Safety, and Value at VA from 2016 through 2018. He earned a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and went to Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School, graduating from both in 2012.


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