Former Henry Ford CEO may be under consideration for VA secretary post

Nancy Schlichting

Nancy Schlichting, who just retired as CEO of the Henry Ford Health System, is meeting today with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team in New York City to possibly discuss the position of secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A Henry Ford representative confirmed to FierceHealthcare Thursday that Schlichting was meeting with the Trump team but did not say what they were discussing. However, the VA position is one of the last the Trump team has to fill, and the two front-runners for the position—Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove and Florida businessman Luis Quinonez—withdrew their names from consideration last week.

Trump has said he wants to fix the broken VA system by expanding private care options for veterans and getting rid of waste within the agency within his first 100 days in office.

Schlichting chaired a commission last year to determine how the government could revamp the VA health system. The Commission on Care was established by Congress in the wake of a nationwide scandal on care delays. The panel examined strategies on how to best organize the VA and best deliver healthcare to veterans for the next 20 years.

The panel made several recommendations, including the creation of an integrated healthcare system that encompasses both VA and private care, enhancing clinical operations, modernizing IT systems and establishing new processes for leadership development and performance management.

Schlichting retired from the Detroit-based health system at the end of December 2016, after serving 13 years as president and CEO.