Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) National President Al Kovach, Jr. today released this statement following the confirmation of former VA UnderSecretary of Health, Dr. David Shulkin, as the new VA Secretary:
“America’s veterans deserve the very best advocates at the VA, conscientious civil servants who have veterans’ best interests at heart, and those who are above political posturing and strong enough to withstand political pressure. Today’s confirmation of Dr. David Shulkin places the first non-veteran to lead the very lifeline to veterans’ healthcare and benefits—particularly within VA spinal cord injury/disease (SCI/D) centers. But it also places a doctor who is intimately familiar with the value and challenges of the VA healthcare system as it stands at the crossroad of private health care for veterans and veteran-centric care with Congressional oversight. Paralyzed Veterans of America is hopeful that Dr. Shulkin’s collaboration with our leadership over the last two years, conducted on behalf of our 18,000 members and the 60,000 veterans living with some form of SCI/D, will inform decisions that are truly a matter of choice for all veterans. We look forward to working with Dr. Shulkin on the future of veterans’ healthcare, and ensuring the voices of the most catastrophically injured veterans are heard above the political din.
In remarks during the confirmation hearing, Dr. Shulkin assured Congress and stakeholders that VA “would not be privatized on [his] watch,” and that an integrated approach to healthcare is in veterans’ best interests.
Dr. Shulkin was confirmed as the VA Under Secretary of Health in June 2015, and has oversight of more than 1,700 VA healthcare sites across the United States. In this position, he has worked with Paralyzed Veterans’ leadership, and has been a guest speaker at numerous events to open the lines of communication about the priorities and needs of veterans receiving specialized care in the VA’s spinal cord injury centers.
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico (pva.org).
SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America