Top VA health official stepping down next month

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The acting head of the Veterans Health Administration announced his plans to step away from the post in mid-July amid speculation the White House is closing in on a nominee to fill the post permanently.

Dr. Richard Stone, who has served as executive in charge of VHA since 2018, made the announcement of his departure in a message to staff Thursday morning. He said the decision came after White House officials informed him he was no longer being considered for the permanent post.

“During my nearly three years leading VHA, as both executive in charge and acting under secretary, I have enjoyed extraordinary support from both secretaries I have served,” Stone said. “I am deeply saddened by this decision but am confident that the great employees of VHA will continue to serve America’s veterans with excellence.”

“We owe Dr. Stone an immense debt of gratitude for his leadership, especially during the pandemic,” he said. “When COVID-19 first began to spread, Dr. Stone was among the first people veterans and their families heard from, delivering a simple and urgent message: ‘We are going to be here [for you] just like we have been for the last 100 years.’

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