Healthcare Colleague Endorses Cosgrove To Head VA

Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson will be looking for answers when he visits the troubled V-A hospital in Phoenix, which has been at the heart of allegations of delayed treatment and even fatalities there. President Obama last week elevated Gibson to the post while the White House searches for a permanent replacement. 

According to multiple reports, the president's top choice is Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU's Jeff St.Clair reports that one healthcare colleague gives Cosgrove a full endorsement to straighten out the troubled system.

Neither the Clinic nor the White House is confirming the report. But James Weinstein, CEO of New Hamphire’s Dartmouth-Hitchcock medical system, thinks Cosgrove would be a solid choice as VA secretary.

“Toby represents all the positives one could think about it trying to reform healthcare and his experience as a surgeon, as a leader, as somebody who’s served in the military, all make him an ideal candidate.”

Cosgrove was an Air Force surgeon during the Vietnam War and earned a Bronze Star.

But it’s Cleveland Clinic’s pioneering use of healthcare information that Weinstein believes could be Cosgrove’s biggest contribution at the VA. 

“I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to use that, to look at the value and outcomes of care for our veterans, and I’d like to see much more transparency in that reporting. I think Toby would be an advocate for that.”

The VA operates the nation’s largest health care system, with more than 1,700 hospitals and other facilities.

The Cleveland Clinic is Ohio’s second largest employer.