Shulkin lands at Sanford Health after his ousting as VA chief

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Six months after being fired by President Trump from his position as Veterans Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin, MD, has landed at Sanford Health, where he will serve as chief innovation officer.

Sanford Health, headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., contends that it is one of the largest healthcare systems in the nation with 44 hospitals and nearly 300 clinics in nine states and nine countries.

“After completing my work in the public sector, Sanford Health was an obvious choice to continue my healthcare career,” says Shulkin, whose firing was announced by Trump on Twitter in March. “Sanford’s unique brand of innovation and clinical integration is bringing precision medicine to the bedside which is rapidly improving patient care in unprecedented ways. I look forward to joining the Sanford team and bringing my background and skills to help drive these advancements in medical practice.”

Among the technology areas that Shulkin will lead as chief innovation officer is the Sanford Chip, a laboratory-developed test designed specifically for genetic screening available through Sanford Imagenetics—an effort to integrate genetics into everyday primary care—which uses a small sample of blood to determine a patient’s risk for several potential health conditions.

Also See: Sanford Health picks platform for enterprise genomic analysis

In addition, Shulkin will serve as strategic advisor on Sanford’s national growth strategy and public policy initiatives as well as assume the role of director on the Sanford International Board, acting as an ambassador for Sanford Health for domestic and international projects.

“Secretary Shulkin is one of the most talented healthcare leaders in the country, and he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Sanford Health,” says Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health. “His unique perspective, clinical expertise and powerful voice will further Sanford Health’s continued development and diversification, which is so critical to our ability to bring new treatments and cures to the patients we serve.”

While Shulkin had come under fire for a trip he took to Europe last year—that included his wife—and was the subject of an Office of Inspector General report, he was universally applauded when it came to efforts to modernize the VA’s IT infrastructure.

In June 2017, Shulkin made the decision to award a sole-source contract to Cerner to replace the legacy Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture with a single common EHR system with the Department of Defense based on Cerner’s Millennium platform. His decision to follow the lead of DoD and acquire a commercial off-the-shelf EHR from Cerner got high marks at the time from health IT groups.

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