New Veterans Affairs Secretary With Roots In Pittsburgh Pledges To Get It Right

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pennsylvania has over 900,000 veterans, many right here in Pittsburgh, so when KDKA political editor Jon Delano went to the White House this week to meet members of the President’s Cabinet, he asked to meet the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. David Shulkin, President Trump’s choice, is no stranger to Pittsburgh.

Delano: “You really have a lot of Pittsburgh roots.”

Shulkin: “Absolutely. Pittsburgh is home to us. This is a place where both my wife and I trained. My father trained. My son was born. One of the great cities.”

Delano: “UPMC?”

Shulkin: “UPMC, and I also trained at the Pittsburgh VA.”

Delano: “Did you really?

Shulkin: “Absolutely. You know the VA trained 70 percent of doctors at some point in their career that graduated from U.S. medical schools.”

President Trump made improving the VA a top campaign pledge, and Dr. Shulkin is his point person to do just that.

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KDKA asked for an update on the legionella at the local VA hospitals.

Shulkin: “Now the VA has one of the most stringent programs to monitor water quality and, in fact, private sector hospitals are coming to the VA to see how we’re doing this. And we watch it on a regular basis to make sure that our veterans are safe.”

Delano: “I think the other point that was important is the transparency because we did not have transparency at the VA in those earlier years.”

Shulkin: “I think that’s one of the lessons we learned when the VA got into trouble three years ago — that hiding information never works — so we are absolutely committed to the full disclosure of information and transparency, and that’s not optional any more in the VA.”

The new secretary says he also wants to hear from vets when the VA screws up.

“We are here to make sure that we are honoring our commitment to veterans,” says Shulkin. “When we don’t always get it right, and we know we don’t always get it right, we want to know about it and we want to fix it.”

A pledge from a man who once lived in Pittsburgh.

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