VA reshuffling leadership team

Wednesday - 6/25/2014, 3:58pm EDT

By Stephanie Wasko
Special to Federal News Radio

The Department of Veterans Affairs is reshuffling senior leadership at the agency in the wake of the reports of long wait times, shoddy care and manipulated data at many of the agency's health clinics.

Among the leadership changes: A new interim undersecretary for health beginning next month, the return of a former high-ranking VA official to serve a senior adviser on a short-term basis and the resignation of the department's general counsel.

VA announced Wednesday it's elevating Carolyn Clancy to be the department's interim undersecretary for health, a position she will assume next month.

"Dr. Clancy will be charged with the department's top priority — getting veterans off of wait lists and in to see their doctors," Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson announced. " She will also lead our efforts on immediate, national reforms to accelerate access to care and restore trust among our veterans, and I'm grateful to her for taking on this critical role."

Clancy has served as assistant deputy undersecretary for health for quality, safety and value for the VA since August 2013. Before working for the VA, Clancy was director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within the Department of Health and Human Services. Colvin, a general internist and health researcher, is a graduate from Boston College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Former official returning, top lawyer resigning

Clancy will begin her duties as interim under secretary when the current acting under secretary, Dr. Robert Jesse, finishes his term as principal deputy under secretary July 2.

Clancy's nomination follows several major resignations of VA leaders including Under Secretary Robert Petzel on May 16 and Secretary Eric Shinseki on May 30. Both Shinseki and Petzel resigned amid the growing scandal surrounding VA health care.

The department also announced Dr. Jonathan Perlin, who previously served as undersecretary of health at the VA, will return to the department to serve a short term as a senior adviser to the acting secretary. Perlin is currently the chief medical officer and president of clinical services for Hospital Corporation of America and will take a leave of absence there to return to VA.

Gibson said he and the department were pleased to welcome Perln back to agency "as we continue our work towards accelerating access to care and rebuilding trust with veterans."

VA also General Counsel Will Gunn plans to resign early next month. His deputy, Tammy Kennedy, will serve as acting general counsel, according to the VA. Stephanie Wasko is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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