On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Dr. David J. Shulkin was sworn in as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In brief remarks after the swearing in ceremony, Shulkin said he was honored to have this opportunity to continue to serve Veterans.

“I have such a … obligation and duty, that I feel to making sure that we give our Veterans everything that they deserve,” he said.  “I think that we have a system that is doing terrific things with very dedicated people, but we all know we have a lot of work to do and that’s what I plan to do as secretary.”

Born on an Army base, Shulkin’s father was an Army psychiatrist and both grandfathers were Army Veterans.  His paternal grandfather served as the chief pharmacist at the V.A. hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. As a young doctor, Shulkin trained in several V.A. hospitals and views his service at VA as a duty to give back to the men and women who served the nation.

Prior to his confirmation as secretary, Shulkin served as VA’s under secretary for Health for 18 months, leading the nation’s largest integrated health care system.

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Published on Feb. 15, 2017

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  1. Dianah Kwiatkowski February 28, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Secretary Shulkin I would like to like to speak to you about an experience I had at my VA hospital. First of all I have to tell you that I am a veteran of the Gulf war a registered nurse for 39 years in critical care. I was a patient for ATYPICAL PNEUMONIA the physician t hat treated me was questionable. I remain in hospital for 6 days being treated with inappropriate medications I questioned her about why no solmedrol or some levoquine specific drugs for respiratory issues also no cxr before going home. She just said no no not in your case or something similar to that . I was sent home and seemed ok but the next day not even 24 hrs I could not breathe I had to call rescue squad and was admitted with ATYPICAL PNEUMONIA fever etc I had a Pulmonary specialist and Infection control physican I spent another 7 days in hospital. I would like to meet with your staff . I wanted to give a class on pathways of Atypical pneumonia to this person. I hope this can be resolved and I would like to help in any way I can. Thank you for your time I remain Dianah Kwiatkowski USArmy Nurse Corp

  2. Michael Manlove February 27, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Dear Sir
    Congratulations on being promoted . I just want to say one thing and that’s about the Marines and Navy suffering from Cancers after drinking the water at Lejeune and being exposed to all those Chemicals. I am going on my sixed year waiting on my appeals to be herd. They wonder why we get so stressed. Many Marines are dying from all kinds of Cancers and its going on 10 plus years. CDC says no one should have been exposed to that water but yet the VA denies and denies our claims. No one hears our pleas for help.

  3. Dennis McDougle February 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm


  4. Dennis J Windsor February 23, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I have nothing but Praise for the Medical care I have received through The VA but the Bureaucracy is another matter ! The top of My list of concern is the two appeals I have with The VA. The first Appeal is 1355 days old & the second Appeal is 933 days old & this after being told that Appeals should be taken care of in 420 days! The 420 days is ridiculous in itself !
    Address this Please !

  5. Thomas Adams (contact Peggy) February 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Thomas Adams for 2 year Thomas has been try to get V.A. to send him to a Dr. that was putting in spiration valve system in the lung. The V.A. Dr. new the Dr. putting in valve would take any one because the choice was not paying for valves that he had done. Now that Dr. doing the clinical trial is over there is nothing He can do for my brother. Now he laying in bed try to breath an not able to talk because he not getting the air he need. Will take any help that be given

  6. Sylvester R Zembrzuski February 23, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Dr David Shulkin, First of all, congratulations on your appointment to this very meaningful position. All Veterans I’m sure are looking forward toward you to assist with their concerns. I am a proud Army Veteran, Military Policeman who had the great honor of being a guard and protector along with my (deceased) patrol partner, Merle Spicer for America’s Most Decorated War Hero of the 2nd World War,
    Audie L. Murphy. Audie L. Murphy at the time was making a documentary, Return To The 3rd Division, Then and Now in Kitzingen, Germany, 1961. I am a 30 year newspaper retired employee and use the VA Health System for some of my Medical Needs. I have much to say about the way care through the VA He3alth System is carried out which I have bad results with. I and all Veteran’s wish you the very best in your appointment to help us the Protectors of this Great Country…AMERICA. God Bless you and our Great Country.

  7. Randall Underwood February 22, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I would like Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin ‘ s email address.
    I had Sec. McDonald’s and wrote him an email concerning the Veterans Choice Program. I”ve had both my hips replaced using the program,…granted it needs alot of work to be classified as sufficient, but it can work. I have not been reimbursed some costs’ we had to put out because the VA and the Civilian Hospital could not see eye to eye on who was paying for what. The VA would not budge. Thats not how it’s supposed to work…..if my civilian doctor operates on me, then HE should have the call on what meds I need and the VA should get with the pharmacy and work the details out.
    I want to let Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin, know also, that I’ve been fighting with the VA over exposure to Agent Orange from my experience as a Medic during the VietNam War.
    Thank you,

    Randall Underwood
    former Medic VietNam

  8. Carl Edward Gooden February 21, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    I’m a vet in Atlanta Georgia…I need housing…I have been trying 3 yrs…I was in a program to help vets get resources, I signed up for housing and to only be told after signing up for housing that I didn’t sign up for housing… It’s very hard trying to get help… Please help…!!!

  9. Reuben Villagomez February 21, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    I would like to know why it’s so hard to get an assessment for my ptsd. Probably because they don’t want to pay out what is rightfully mine. It’s poor service and lack of service like this that really discourages a veteran to the point of wanting to take his or her own life. I wish someone would listen to me already and give me what is long over due.
    Reuben Villagomez
    United States Army Veteran

  10. David Mead February 19, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I hope things will change for the better. My primary residence is in Virginia, however I spend 5 months in the winter in Florida. I was twice refused needed medical treatment in Port Charlotte FL V A office because I was not signed up for some visiting vet program which the office in Fredericksburg, Va was not aware of. I had a urinary tract infection and went to the
    Cape Coral Fl clinic twice. They did tests and told me the doctor would contact me soon. I never heard back from that doctor.Finally I went to the emergency room of our local hospital and they discovered the infection and treated it successfully.
    I would like to see the Traveling vet program eliminated and allow vets to get all treatment whether emergency or not at whatever clinic is nearby. I would also like to be able to get results promptly on the phone. Using the computer is very difficult for older vets with infirmities such as mine (Parkinsons).
    David Mead (was staff Sargent E6 ) Viet Nam Vet disabled

  11. Gerald Miller February 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I am a NAVY vet and navy civilian 0346 NT05 employee. My bad experience is I was recently in Jan 2017 turned away from S. Indiana VA clinic by 2 Practitioner nurses with not so much as a shot, advise or referral. Sorry is all they said. It started after returning from a DOD mission in January. I am sick with full body reaction to some unknown toxin/poison I was exposed along the way. I am in hell. I have dropped out of school and stopped going to work (my boss is a good boss with full support). I live to design, create, solve weapons system problems for the warfighter. I like to think I am good at it. My career is in question now. I begged a couple of private doctors to see me and am getting some help now. They don’t know what it is I have but have ruled out scabies and shingles and suspect something fungal, BIO, something I ingested or was exposed to. Bottom line and my advice is don’t trust VA for complicated illness as I suspect they have paperwork issues. I hope to get better with help from my family. I once was a carpenter for VP Mike Pence and know he is honorable and a good man. He will appoint good people to solve the VA’s problems. God speed and following seas to all Vets. v/r
    Your VET/Servant

  12. Bonnie Ingram February 18, 2017 at 3:07 am

    My husband is a combat veteran who served in the army he was in desert storm he is diagnosed with PTSD 70% he has been fighting the VA since 2005 he still has a claim out there ,we moved and the VA said they would have to transfer him to a different VA doctor because they would not pay his travel pay because we live too far when he went to see the doctor for the first time the doctor changed his medication 3 weeks later he was like in a war zone and he committed suicide he would go see his psychiatrist doctor every month and his counselor I hope and pray someone fixes the long long wait that the veteran has to wait they call it a back log because they have so many to handle

  13. Alvin Lee Lewis February 17, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    When will we receive a cost-of-living increase we have not seen an increase for about 10 years will you please help

  14. Darrell N. Middleton February 17, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    I have in the past commented that the VA is a procrustean organization. Rather than criticism, I intended it, as a necessary mode, because of the number of newer veterans to be considered, and to be noted as an inherent administrative difficulty. In reading over the credentials of current administrators, it occurs to me that now, more than ever, Veterans, with few or no credentials like myself, can certainly look forward to continuing improvements in VA care of veterans.

  15. Rod Greenman February 17, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    All of us vets are holding our breath that we get some one in the VA that really give a damn about us.We have to wait to long to get help,or get the brush when we are in trouble.

  16. Christopher Berkeley February 17, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    My Name is Christopher D. Berkeley a Veterans of the United States American Why I can get a job here in Orlando, Florida and have a 40% disability I serve this country I have out of work for 6 month with help to pay bills. This wrong Veterans need help if can help please. thank you God bless American

  17. Richard Jackson February 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    There are so many problems in the VA system it’s a shame, extreme hours waiting for appointments, emergency room care, follow up visits to name a few. Try hanging out at any waiting room and just listen to vets or try talking to some if you really want to know how horrible some of the conditions are.
    Richard Jackson
    10 yr vet

  18. Robert Ditmer February 17, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I am a Marine Corps veteran of 25 years. I came in in 1972. I and many other veterans were promised free medical care after we served ast least 20 years of active service. I currently have Tricare Prime.. I will reach my 65th birthday in a year and a half where I have to take out Tricare for life and Medicare part B. My question is why do I still have to pay two medical cost to two medical facility, where I think the Tricare for Life should take care of both. Makes No sense to pay two seperate premiums, even though congress pledged to have free medical care after serving 20 years. If you are the new Veterans Secretary, can you pass the law where all veterans like me get free medical care. As a senior citizen and a disabled veteran I hape you do the right thing for us all. Thanks for your time. And congradulations.
    Robert Ditmer

  19. Anthony Spadaro jr February 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Hello, My name is Anthony Spadaro Iam trying to figure out how to claim my disability checks from 1984-2005 they were never cashed Ijust found out about this a couple of months ago,could you please help me with my situatiion Please and thank you

  20. Leona Scott February 17, 2017 at 12:07 pm


  21. Larry Vallad February 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I am optimistically awaiting our new leader. Let’s see if he can do something about the backlog on claims and see if the vets get a fair and unbiased look at their claim. For so long, we have been in a hamster wheel knowing we are entitled but VA using unqualified QTC personnel to evaluate us. All I ask is ALL evidence be looked at.

  22. Dante solis February 17, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    You people talking lots of things, plans etc but never get any accomplishment. How about do one thing in a time. Everything are important but health is the first priority. Just to get an appointment, it takes six month or so! This problem is been a problem for so many administrations passed. Some vets never get a chance to show up to their appointment due to death before their med appointment! Wake up people! Let’s do make some difference.

  23. Ken Kincaid February 17, 2017 at 11:47 am

    I have been using UT SOUTHWESTERN hospital for primary help. I only go to the
    VA for dental and my MEDS
    It takes me three days to get a prescription
    Filed. I have to go get a doctor to sign the prescription then go wait in line for an hour
    This absurd as my doctor could fax the
    Prescription to pharmacy angthey could mailed to me like my PTSD meds. This causes too much hassle for vets. You can see why it is such a pain

  24. Floyd H Campbell February 17, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Veteran’s with 65 percent disabilities and higher should be offered tricare just like the retired veterans or go by a income cut off. This would help with better quality care for all veterans

  25. Jack DeMumbum February 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

    I hope Dr. Shulkin shows he is his own person by immediately by directing that the other obvious conditions related to agent orange exposure be designated as presumptive. The previous administration (of which he was part) ignored this important issue due to laziness an incompetence. Make a statement Dr. Shulkin!

    To state the obvious, anyone that has ever walked into a VA hospital can see the problem right in front of their face: In general the civil service employees are lazy, surly, and exhibit behaviors that illustrate their knowledge that there is no effective system in place to fire them. Recreating a system where employees keep their jobs based on performance and merit, where incompetence and laziness are not tolerated could be done overnight if the right people had the balls to do it. If Dr. Shulkin has those balls things will change quickly. It’s high time.

  26. Louis O Zankowski February 17, 2017 at 11:23 am

    They way to show improvement is incremental and should be reported as such. Any report with out targets “Hit and Misses” need to be reported –
    Show the current GWOT Veterans – you are truly listening –
    Many troops continue to complain about the “Agent Orange” off their experience – Consistent Lung and Breathing Problems
    Congress directed VA to collect data – to date what is the status – why should anyone fill out forms etc. if nothing is going to be done this decade ala Agent Orange , PTSD of Vietnam Vets.- Personally been there and didn’t do it.
    L. O. Zankowski – Vietnam 68-69 – father of OEF Veteran

    • Louis O Zankowski February 17, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Why are there Three VA’s – and data not collated into one source
      VA Hosp
      VA Death
      VA Benefits

      Currently I will tell you the I use my VA Pharmacy in lieu of Medicare
      I am treated very well and local Cedar Rapids Clinic and Iowa City Hospital
      I took some personal advise from a VA employee and got al of my VA Med details updated in 2010
      I was quizzed by a VA staff MD why I was there as my health was much better than the Ave patient – I told him I want the data in there just in case – I become a patient with out memory..

  27. William F Mihok February 17, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Good luck and God bless Dr.Shulkin. He has a difficult job to to do to over come years of neglect!

  28. Jerry Jerome Binard 7349 February 17, 2017 at 11:15 am

    I’m at the Dorn VA in Columbia SC. Name Jerry Binard. Been waiting for my benefit hearing almost 2 yrs now. Please help Dr.Shulkin Sir?

  29. Thomas He'Bert February 17, 2017 at 11:13 am

    There should be some kind of help when a Veteran has no means to get a roof or the inside of there house or trailer or even a prefabrication home I remember when people use to help others with out them having a dime now days all the Veterans who at one time out there ass on line for there country and now we are a forgotten bunch, as long as I can see the only ones who make anything are the people who say they can help and the only thing they do is lie and fill there bank accounts with more money than most of us will never have it’s about time they do what they said they were going to do and quit the lying!

  30. Curtis Baker I February 17, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I ‘m a homeless veteran in Huntsville al. I can’t seem to get any help from anyone and I have a pending remand claim that I have been waiting on since 2005 .Thanks VA CURTIS

  31. Christopher Buys February 17, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I want the good Dr to contact me. I am tired of lies sun innuendos in my records depicting me as a drug addict and alcky. About 3 years ago the VA started taking pain meds from us Vets. That the reason for the lies. They made me go to a pain boot camp. There I was in the class wit one guy that was in an ied blast. They expected us to control our pain with Polatis Tail Chee and yoga. REALLY? The is just so much more to this story. I have written everybody including politition. VAOIG. Nothing was done. Please contact me. Please e mail me if you wish your name added to my complaint. This was a nationwide directive to reduce the number of narcotics dispensed. That is s fact. I do have written proof of all this stuff.

  32. Charles Roumelis February 17, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Honorable Dr. Shulkin, Best Wishes! You Serve the Veterans of the Greatest Country in the World ! Please Communicate this Message to Your Department! I Pray for Your Success in All Your Endeavors! Respectfully, Sgt. Roumelis

  33. Arthur L Smith February 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    As a US Navy Veteran who served on Guam MI during the Korean War I have designed and developed a system for each Veteran who can easily carry all their medicals re all their providers
    in 14 languages no internet required that is designed to save lives and reduce medical costs.
    This is something for the VA! I’ll be pleased to demo it – I live in Phoenix AZ

  34. Clyde sprowl February 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    There are veterans who have been denied an insulin pump who desperately need one

Comments are closed.

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