Top VA Health Nominee Withdraws Over Ties to Waiting-List Scandal

The decision follows reports tying the nominee to a hospital with alleged secret waiting lists.

National Journal
June 5, 2014, 11:55 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama’s nom­in­ee to be the top health of­fi­cial at the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs De­part­ment with­drew Thursday, his con­firm­a­tion chances severely com­prom­ised by po­ten­tial ties to the de­part­ment’s broad­er “wait­ing list” scan­dal

Re­ports have linked Jef­frey Mur­awsky — who was Obama’s choice to serve as the de­part­ment’s next un­der­sec­ret­ary for health — to an Illinois fa­cil­ity where staff al­legedly placed vet­er­ans on such secret wait­ing lists for med­ic­al ap­point­ments. He was also a phys­i­cian at the fa­cil­ity, and he tech­nic­ally re­mains on staff.

Mur­awsky asked the White House and Sloan Gib­son, the VA’s act­ing sec­ret­ary, to pull his nom­in­a­tion to be the de­part­ment’s next un­der­sec­ret­ary for health.

It’s the second loss for the de­part­ment in un­der a week, with Eric Shin­seki resign­ing as sec­ret­ary on Fri­day. A re­port from the VA’s in­spect­or gen­er­al re­leased last month found that “in­ap­pro­pri­ate schedul­ing prac­tices are a sys­tem­ic prob­lem na­tion­wide.”

Pres­id­ent Obama nom­in­ated Mur­awsky on May 1 to suc­ceed Robert Pet­zel, who was ex­pec­ted to re­tire later this year. But Pet­zel resigned ab­ruptly last month as the de­part­ment’s scan­dal con­tin­ued to grow.

“The pres­id­ent and Act­ing Sec­ret­ary [Sloan Gib­son] plan to move as quickly as pos­sible to fill the po­s­i­tion with the best pos­sible can­did­ate who can en­sure that our vet­er­ans get the care they have earned and de­serve,” a seni­or ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said, con­firm­ing Mur­awsky’s de­cision to with­draw — ori­gin­ally re­por­ted by the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Gib­son will ask a com­mis­sion to re­com­mend a new nom­in­ee for the Vet­er­ans Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Mur­awsky’s de­cision comes as in­de­pend­ent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Ver­mont un­veiled a bi­par­tis­an bill aimed at fix­ing many of the VA’s prob­lems. The le­gis­la­tion would make it easi­er for Gib­son to fire seni­or of­fi­cials, while also in­clud­ing — un­like a sim­il­ar bill passed by the House last week — one week for em­ploy­ees to ap­peal the de­cision.

What We're Following See More »
DOES NOT COMMENT ON AMI SETTLEMENT
Trump Denies Directing Cohen To Break The Law
55 minutes ago
THE LATEST

President Trump "denied that he had directed his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to break the law during the 2016 campaign by buying the silence of two women who claimed they once had affairs with the future president." Trump did not dispute that Cohen made the payments, but said that Cohen "is supposed to know the law."

Source:
PLANNING NEW SITES IN SEATTLE, SAN DIEGO, CULVER CITY
Apple To Build New Campus In Austin, Texas
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Apple plans to build a 133-acre campus in Austin, Texas, that will cost $1 billion and employ 5,000 new workers, the company announced on Thursday. Apple says the move is expected to make it the largest private employer in Austin." Apple signed a 10-year development contract with Austin in 2012.

Source:
APPEARS TO LOCK UP VOTES TO BECOME SPEAKER
Pelosi Agrees to Serve No More than Four Years
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Nancy Pelosi is doing exactly what she said she wouldn’t in order to secure the votes she needs to be elected speaker—putting an end date on her tenure as the top House Democratic leader. Under an agreement reached with seven Democrats who opposed her speaker bid, Pelosi will back term limits for the top three Democratic leaders. The limit she has agreed to will prevent her from serving as speaker beyond another four years."

Source:
HIS LAWYERS ASKED FOR LENIENCY
Cohen Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison
22 hours ago
THE LATEST
HEADS TO HOUSE FOR FINAL PASSAGE
Senate Passes Farm Bill, 87-13
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login