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Obama to name former Proctor & Gamble chief to head VA

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Obama to name former Proctor & Gamble chief to head VA

The president is expected today to nominate Bob McDonald, a West Point graduate and former CEO of Procter & Gamble. The announcement follows the release Friday of a White House report that found the Department of Veterans Affairs has a "corrosive culture" that led to the problems with care for veterans.

The Washington Post: Bob McDonald, Former P&G Chief, To Be Obama's Nominee To Lead Veterans Affairs
President Obama on Monday will nominate Bob McDonald, a West Point graduate who served as the chief executive of Procter & Gamble, to take over as head of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, according to White House officials. The un­or­tho­dox pick of a retired corporate executive whose former company produces iconic household products such as Tide detergent and Charmin toilet paper — rather than a former military general — underscores the serious management problems facing the agency charged with serving more than 8 million veterans a year (Eilperin, 6/29).

The New York Times: Pick for V.A. Is Former Corporate Chief
President Obama on Monday intends to nominate Robert A. McDonald, a former chief executive of Procter & Gamble, to be the next secretary of Veterans Affairs, a White House official said Sunday, betting that a global corporate officer can turn around a government health system that has been rocked by allegations of mismanagement. ... "This is definitely a surprising pick," said Paul Rieckhoff, the chief executive and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "McDonald is not a name that was on anyone's radar over the last few weeks. His branding background may prove helpful because there are few organizations in America with a worse reputation toward customers than the V.A. right now" (Shear and Oppel, 6/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Ex-Procter & Gamble CEO To Be Nominated As VA Secretary
Mr. McDonald, 61 years old, is a veteran and a West Point graduate, but his limited military experience is unusual for the VA post. ... While Mr. McDonald would normally be seen as an unexpected choice, a crisis at the agency over extended wait times for health care and other problems means that "right now, they need someone with management skills,'' said Bob Wallace, executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "He comes with the credentials they need at this time: management expertise and someone who has made a living making tough decisions," Mr. Wallace said. "He has no allegiance to anyone in the VA. He can do what needs to be done without offending his friends" (McCain Nelson and Kesling, 6/29).

Politico: Barack Obama Taps Ex-Procter And Gamble Exec Robert McDonald To Lead VA
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, McDonald rose from an entry-level job to CEO of Procter and Gamble over more than three decades at the company. He spent four years as CEO before leaving in mid-2013 amid cost-cutting at the Fortune 500 company. ... McDonald is an unusual choice for an agency that has typically been led by former military leaders, but given the agency's bureaucratic and managerial challenges, he is seen by the White House as the kind of corporate leader the agency needs (Epstein, 6/29).

USA Today: Obama To Name New VA Chief
McDonald, 61, was with Procter & Gamble for 33 years. As CEO, he oversaw more than 120,000 employees, with operations around the world, selling products in more than 180 countries and more than 2.5 million stores, reaching more than 5 billion customers (Jackson and Zoroya, 6/29). 

Los Angeles Times: Obama Selects Former Procter & Gamble Chief To Lead Veterans Affairs
In nominating Bob McDonald as the next secretary of Veterans Affairs, President Obama is recruiting a West Point graduate with experience in running a big corporation — Procter & Gamble — to turn around a department whose failure to provide timely care to veterans has caused a political furor. If confirmed by the Senate, McDonald would succeed Eric K. Shinseki, a retired four-star Army general who stepped down last month amid a scandal in which VA employees falsified records to cover up long waits for medical appointments (Simon, 6/29).

McClatchy: Obama To Nominate Former Proctor & Gamble CEO As VA Chief
President Barack Obama on Monday will announce his choice of Bob McDonald, a West Point graduate and former CEO of Proctor & Gamble, to head up the beleagured Department of Veterans Affairs, a senior administration official said. McDonald, who retired from P&G in June 2013, will replace VA Secretary Eric Shinseki who resigned in late May amid reports of widespread problems within the Veterans Health Agency, including allegations that some veterans died while waiting for care. The White House says McDonald's 33 years at the consumer products giant "prepares him well for a huge agency with management challenges in servicing more than 8 million veterans a year" (Clark, 6/29).

Reuters: Obama To Nominate Former P&G CEO Bob McDonald As Veterans Secretary
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner called McDonald "a good man, a veteran, and a strong leader with decades of experience in the private sector. With those traits, he's the kind of person who is capable of implementing the kind of dramatic systemic change that is badly needed and long overdue at the VA" (Holland, 6/29).

The Associated Press: Ex P&G Head Obama Choice To Lead Veterans Affairs
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in a statement that he looked forward to meeting with McDonald next week to get his views on issues he views as important. Among them, Sanders said in a statement, "The VA needs significantly improved transparency and accountability and it needs an increased number of doctors, nurses and other medical staff so that all eligible veterans get high-quality health care in a timely manner" (Pace, 6/29). 

Meanwhile, the White House on Friday released its report about problems at the VA.

The New York Times: Report Finds Health Unit Of V.A. Needs Overhaul
The Veterans Health Administration has a corrosive culture that has led to poor management, a history of retaliation toward employees, cumbersome and outdated technology, and a shortage of doctors, nurses and physical space to treat its patients, according to a review presented to President Obama on Friday by one of his top advisers on veterans' issues. Mr. Obama called last month for the review of the Veterans Health Administration, a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, just days before he accepted the resignation of the Veterans Affairs secretary, Eric Shinseki (Shear and Oppel, 6/27).

The Wall Street Journal: White House Review Of VA Finds 'Corrosive Culture,' Poor Management
A White House review of the VA health system points to a culture that has degraded the timely delivery of care and requires a restructuring to improve transparency and accountability. Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson and Rob Nabors, White House deputy chief of staff, told President Barack Obama on Friday that significant further action was needed to address systemic problems (McCain Nelson and Kesling, 6/27). 

Politico: White House Report: Overhaul VA's 'Corrosive Culture'
The Department of Veterans Affairs' "corrosive culture" can only be fixed by a near overhaul of the system, charged a report delivered to President Barack Obama on Friday. The report, authored by a top White House official, said the department needs to be "restructured and reformed" and shared a scathing view of a corrupt and poorly-managed agency keen to protect itself over the care of veterans (French, 6/27).

Los Angeles Times: White House Report Says VA Has 'Significant' And 'Systemic Failures'
The VA suffers from "significant and chronic systemic failures" that must be addressed by department leadership, according to a White House report delivered to President Obama on Friday, giving urgency to congressional legislation aimed at reducing veterans' wait times for healthcare and holding officials more accountable. Among the problems cited are a "corrosive culture" that has led to personnel problems within the Department of Veterans Affairs, exacerbated by poor management and a history of retaliation toward employees raising issues (Simon, 6/27).

The Hill: WH Report Finds 'Corrosive Culture' At VA
The report written by Rob Nabors, the president's deputy chief of staff, paints a bleak picture of operations within the department. It says the agency needs to take "significant further action" to address "systematic problems" with providing health service for former service members. "It is clear that there are significant and chronic systemic failures that must be addressed by the leadership at the VA," Nabors says in his report, presented to President Obama on Friday (Sink, 6/27). 

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports on new details about problems at the VA -

Associated Press:  VA Benefit Record Purse Investigated
Federal investigators are probing a whistleblower's allegations that applications for veterans seeking health care benefits may have been improperly purged from the VA's Health Eligibility Center in suburban Atlanta. Eligibility Center program specialist Scott Davis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that health benefit applications for more than 10,000 veterans may have been improperly purged from the Health Eligibility Center's national data system in DeKalb County. The center doesn't process all applications, but it helps manage the national enrollment computer system and offers enrollment guidance for VA hospitals across the country (6/29).

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service. It is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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