Trump VA Contenders Said to Include Cleveland Clinic’s Cosgrove

  • Businessman Quinonez also said to be considered for post
  • Veterans Affairs still grappling with management issues

Delos 'Toby' Cosgrove

Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg

Cleveland Clinic Chief Executive Officer Delos “Toby” Cosgrove and Luis Quinonez, head of a company that provides health-care services to the military, are being considered by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, according to a person familiar with the process.

Both men were meeting with Trump Tuesday at the president-elect’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he’s spending the Christmas holiday.

Cosgrove, the clinic’s CEO since 2003, was considered to head the troubled VA by President Barack Obama in 2014 following the firing of Eric Shinseki, who was ousted after revelations of treatment delays, mismanagement and falsified records at government-run hospitals and clinics for veterans. Cosgrove, a heart surgeon and a Vietnam veteran, withdrew from consideration, citing his obligations at the Cleveland Clinic.

Obama selected Robert McDonald, the retired chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble Co., to revamp the department’s management and improve care.

As head of the Cleveland Clinic, Cosgrove oversees a multi-billion dollar system expanding from the main campus in the organization’s namesake city to more than 75 other facilities, including in Florida, Las Vegas, Toronto and Abu Dhabi. The hospital is one of the largest employers in Ohio.

Cosgrove has been serving as a member of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a group led by Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman to share views on how government policy impacts jobs and economic growth.

Vietnam Veteran

Quinonez is chief executive officer of IQ Management Services, a multibillion-dollar company that provides health care services to the military, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. IQ Management has 2,200 direct medical staff and a network of 25,000 physicians and close to 8,000 pharmacists, Miller said.

Born in Guatemala, Quinonez also is a Vietnam veteran. He’s been active in Republican Party politics.

Trump is also considering U.S. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who was the first black woman to command a Navy ship, and Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth, a former Army National Guard captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and later worked as an advocate for veterans as CEO of Concerned Veterans for America.

Overhauling the VA is an area “that’s near and dear to his heart and one that he really wants to make sure is addressed appropriately, quickly and successfully,” transition spokesman Sean Spicer, a Navy veteran, told reporters last week. 

(Corrects spelling of Procter & Gamble Co.)
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