MILITARY

Trump's pick to head VA rejects radical change to fix agency

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2017 file photo, Veterans Affair secretary nominee David Shulkin leaves a meeting at Trump Tower in New York. Shulkin, promises to meet the health care needs of millions of veterans and is rejecting a dismantling of the beleagured agency or wide-scale firings as a way to do it. His confirmation hearing is schedule for Feb. 1. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2017 file photo, Veterans Affair secretary nominee David Shulkin leaves a meeting at Trump Tower in New York. Shulkin, promises to meet the health care needs of millions of veterans and is rejecting a dismantling of the beleagured agency or wide-scale firings as a way to do it. His confirmation hearing is schedule for Feb. 1. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)  (The Associated Press)

President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Veterans Affairs Department says wide-scale firings or dismantling the beleaguered agency isn't the way to meet the health care needs of millions of veterans.

Trump tapped David Shulkin, the VA's current top health official, to be VA secretary after a presidential campaign in which the Republican described the agency as "probably the most incompetently run."

As Shulkin prepares to face a Senate panel Wednesday, the 57-year-old physician is pledging more modest changes.

In prepared testimony, Shulkin says there will be better access and expanded care options. But he adds: "The Department of Veterans Affairs will not be privatized under my watch."

Shulkin is in line to be the lone ex-Obama administration official serving in Trump's Cabinet.