The appearing head of the Veterans Health Administration introduced his plans to step away from the submit in mid-July amid hypothesis the White Home is closing in on a nominee to fill the submit completely.
Dr. Richard Stone, who has served as government in control of VHA since 2018, made the announcement of his departure in a message to workers Thursday morning. He mentioned the choice got here after White Home officers knowledgeable him he was not being thought of for the everlasting submit.
“Throughout my practically three years main VHA, as each government in cost and appearing below secretary, I’ve loved extraordinary assist from each secretaries I’ve served,” Stone mentioned. “I’m deeply saddened by this choice however am assured that the good staff of VHA will proceed to serve America’s veterans with excellence.”
In a separate assertion, VA Secretary Denis McDonough praised Stone for his work at VA.
“We owe Dr. Stone an immense debt of gratitude for his management, particularly through the pandemic,” he mentioned. “When COVID-19 first started to unfold, Dr. Stone was among the many first folks veterans and their households heard from, delivering a easy and pressing message: ‘We’re going to be right here [for you] identical to we’ve got been for the final 100 years.’
“Beneath Dr. Stone’s management, VHA’s glorious staff have finished precisely that — vaccinating tens of millions, saving lives and risking all the pieces to serve those that served our nation.”
Stone, who served because the Military’s deputy surgeon basic and deputy commanding basic for Military Medical Command, first served at VA because the second-ranking well being official below David Shulkin in 2016. He left when Shulkin turned VA secretary, however returned once more in 2018 to function the non permanent head of VA’s well being operations below President Donald Trump.
That non permanent job turned a close to everlasting submit. Within the final seven years, Shulkin is the one Senate-confirmed nominee to guide the VHA, and his stint within the job lasted solely 18 months earlier than his promotion.
Stone has been rumored ceaselessly as a nominee for the below secretary of well being submit, below President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.
In March, VA leaders introduced they’d fashioned a fee to determine candidates for the job. Division officers didn’t present an inventory of remaining candidates into account.
The Veterans Well being Administration is the most important medical system in America, serving greater than 9 million sufferers yearly and boasting a funds of greater than $60 billion.
Stone mentioned in his assertion to workers that he’ll “be in search of new alternatives to serve my fellow veterans, as I’ve finished in service to the nation for practically 30 years.”