Former VA secretary Shulkin talks new book, career and his thoughts on public service

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Trying to improve mission delivery in a political mud bath just doesn’t work. That’s according to former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin. As his new book, “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country,” details, public service can be a challenge. Federal Drive with Tom Temin talked to him about a range of matters, including the decision to scrap the decades-old VistA electronic records system; and how, after a career in medicine and hospital administration, he joined the department as undersecretary for health during the Obama administration.

As VA secretary, Shulkin ran into a storm of negative publicity when his wife accompanied him on a European trip. And even though the inspector general mostly exonerated him, the damage was done. In his book, Shulkin discusses this incident only months after a flattering New York Times story about his early days in the job.

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