Skip links

Jackson In, Shulkin Out – What happens now?

Not one complete year after President Donald Trump publicly stated that his famous phrase, “You’re fired,” would never be used on Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, David Shulkin, MD, has Trump gone and done just that.

As of Saturday of last week, Trump took to Twitter to announce that Shulkin would be replaced by the White House physician, Ronny Jackson, MD.

Veterans’ groups have since expressed concern at Jackson’s qualifications.  Although Jackson is highly respected, activists of veterans’ groups have stated that he lacks experience in managing government agencies.  To his favor, Jackson remains an active duty soldier, and served as the emergency physician specializing in resuscitating troops in Iraq.  Thus far, he has served throughout former President Bush’s administration in 2006 and continued his duty serving former President Obama and now under Trump.

While his career accomplishments are impressive, not much is known regarding his thoughts and stance on the VA.  Shulkin previously commented that his own opposition of privatizing the VA is one of the reasons he was pushed out as Secretary.  So, what does this mean for the $16B VA-Cerner EMR contract signing?

Sources state that drafts of the agreement to overhaul the Cerner contract began as soon as Shulkin announced the decision to replace VistA with Cerner.

Analysts of this situation believe that the contract is not facing a repeal, but rather, a prolonged process to finalize the agreement.  This sentiment has sent shock waves through the stock market resulting in a one month drop for Cerner (traded under the symbol CERN:US) from $65 per share to $55, a 15% drop!  The longer-term positive outlook for Cerner means that for the more aggressive investor, this may represent a buying opportunity.

In any case, Shulkin believes that Jackson is capable of handling the position.  Staff in such high-ranking positions typically have mentors and a network of people that they can rely on to provide counsel, guidance, and/or feedback.  In Jackson’s case, it is widely held that Richard Tubb, MD (also affiliated with the White House) has served as Jackson’s mentor for some time.  According to Michael Williams, CEO, Global Healthcare IT, Inc., “The real potential losers in this situation are the veterans themselves.  Any delay in modernizing the VA provision of healthcare is a slap in the face for the very people who have earned, and most deserve a decent standard of healthcare.  My hope is that Dr. Jackson sees his way clear to supporting this vital initiative to improve the quality of care of veterans throughout America.”

Thoughts? Keep the conversation going on our LinkedIn group dedicated to all things Cerner by joining here.


Fierce Healthcare

Fierce Healthcare – Editor’s Corner

Becker’s Health IT & CIO Report

KCUR 89.3