The Senate voted on July 23 to confirm Robert Wilkie, as the 10th secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Wilkie has served as acting secretary of the department since the departure of David Shulkin, MD, earlier this year.
Wilkie, a reserve officer in the Air Force Reserve, assured senators during his confirmation hearing that he would not support privatizing the Veterans Health Administration, which includes more than 1,500 treatment facilities and cares for approximately nine million veterans a year.
Wilkie was confirmed by a vote of 86-9, with the support of both the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Richard Stone, MD, previously VA deputy undersecretary for health, was appointed acting head of the Veterans Health Administration on July 16. Wilkie and Dr. Stone will oversee implementation of the VA MISSION Act, which establishes a new community health care system within the VA.
The legislation was signed into law by President Trump on June 6.