June 15, 2021
Richard Stone, MD, Acting Under Secretary At VA, To Step Down
On Thursday, June 10, VA Acting Under Secretary for Health Richard Stone, MD, announced that he will be leaving the agency in mid-July after three years.
In an internal note last week, Dr. Stone said, “As many of you are aware, the commission to select the next Under Secretary for Health met a few months ago. I was recently informed that I will not be nominated for this position.” The VA established a commission in March to identify candidates for the position of Under Secretary, a position that has been vacant since 2017.
In April 2020, Dr. Stone partnered with the VA Office of Nursing Services to issue a memorandum “strongly” encouraging VA facilities to change their hospital bylaws to remove anesthesiologists from Veteran care and, in their place, use a nurse-only model of care for Veterans. ASA responded with its strong opposition to the “Stone Memo” and led an effort that generated an outpouring of public comments to the Federal Register opposing the change and in support of physician-led care in the VA.
Prior to his role as Acting Under Secretary, Dr. Stone worked for the US Army where he served as the Army’s Deputy Surgeon General and the Deputy Commanding General of Support for US Army MEDCOM. Stone was appointed Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for the second time, after previously serving in the role between 2016 and 2017. Between 2018 and 2021 he was Executive in Charge at VHA, and before that he worked in the private sector as Vice President for Military Health at Booz Allen Hamilton.
ASA looks forward to working with the next VA Under Secretary for Health to continue efforts to maintain physician-led care in VA and preserve Veteran’s access to safe, high-quality anesthesia care.