Embattled VA Taps Nashville Health Care Exec To Advise Agency Overhaul

Dr. Jonathan Perlin has been HCA's chief medical officer since 2006. According to a calculation from Bloomberg Businessweek, his total annual compensation is $3.6 million. Credit: HCA

Dr. Jonathan Perlin has been HCA’s chief medical officer since 2006. According to a calculation from Bloomberg Businessweek, his total annual compensation is $3.6 million. Credit: HCA

The Department of Veterans Affairs has brought on a Nashville health care executive to help right the ship after a scandal over wait times. Dr. Jonathan Perlin is taking a 60-day leave from his position as chief medical officer of HCA.

Perlin is no stranger to the VA. He previously served as VA under Secretary for Health. He returns as a special advisor to the acting VA chief.

A statement from the agency says he will be part of a team “accelerating access to care and rebuilding trust with veterans.”

While the VA is a massive bureaucracy, HCA is comparable in size. They both have roughly the same number of hospitals and clinics around the country.

Perlin’s pet issue is electronic health records and medication administration. Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper calls Perlin “extraordinary.”

“When the big private-sector hospitals wanted to hire the best, they hired the government guy,” Cooper said in a written statement. “He’s now returning the favor to a VA that needs him at this critical time.”

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