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Craig Comments on Departure of VA Undersecretary for Health

Location: Washington, DC


Senator Larry Craig today said that the nation's veterans are losing a great leader with the announced departure of Dr. Jonathan Perlin, who is leaving his post effective August 11.

Perlin is currently the Under Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs .

"VA's health care is now ranked among the best in the country, and much of that credit belongs to Dr. Perlin. Jon Perlin is a visionary, a gentleman and a scholar. He is going to be tough to replace," said Craig, who serves as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "The challenge for both President Bush and Secretary Nicholson will be to find someone quickly who is as bright and capable as Dr. Perlin is."

An article in the latest edition of Business Week magazine calls VA "The Best Medical Care In The U.S." and highlights the contributions of both Perlin and VA Secretary Jim Nicholson.

Earlier this week, VA's electronic health record system received the coveted "Innovations in American Government Award" sponsored by Harvard University's Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Kennedy School of Government and administered in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government.

It was just last year that the Senate confirmed Perlin to the job, a position in which he served as essentially the Chief Executive Officer for VA medical care. Before his nomination, Perlin served as the VA's Deputy Under Secretary for Health and as the Acting Chief Research and Development Officer.

At last year's confirmation hearing, Perlin said that his favorite part of the entire medical school experience was training at a VA medical center.

"I had the privilege of taking care of some of the last Buffalo Soldiers and World War I doughboys - along with veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam," Perlin said then.

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