BALTIMORE (Reuters) - The White House has
turned to healthcare experts and industry leaders in its effort to pick
a new head for the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency's
interim leader said on Tuesday.
"This is one of the most important jobs in government today,"
Gibson said in remarks at the Baltimore VA Center. "This is one
position that has a greater opportunity to have an impact and make a
lasting difference than any other opportunity in health care."
Cleveland Clinic Chief Executive Delos Cosgrove, Disabled American
Veterans Executive Director Garry Augustine, and Army Surgeon
General Patricia Horoho are among the members of a nine-person panel
discussing candidates, Gibson said.
Other panel members include Kenneth Kizer, a professor at the
University of California, Davis; John Prescott of the Association of
Medical Colleges; and Veterans of Foreign Wars Executive Director
Bob Wallace, Gibson said.
Revelations of widespread delays in providing healthcare to veterans
that in some cases led to fatalities has embarrassed President
Barack Obama, who campaigned on a pledge to improve veterans' care
Furor over bottlenecks and revelations VA officials concealed
waiting lists to earn bonuses cost former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki
his job. Obama has pledged to quickly name a new full-time head of
the agency and overhaul the veterans' healthcare system, which has
around 9 million enrollees, 150 hospitals and 820 community-based