Senate HELP Committee Approves Nomination of Carmona for Surgeon General
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday unanimously approved Dr. Richard Carmona's nomination for the position of surgeon general, despite questions about his professional record and management ability raised in a July 8 Los Angeles Times article, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Carmona's nomination now moves to the full Senate for consideration (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/18). At a confirmation hearing last week, committee members cited reports that Carmona, an Arizona trauma surgeon, failed an examination for board certification two times before later passing the test, eight years after completing his residency. Carmona said that he passed the exam in the time allowed. Committee members also asked Carmona about his 1999 resignation as head of the Pima County Health System in Arizona, a move some reported as the outcome of a dispute between Carmona and county health commissioners. Carmona said that he had planned to leave the position and that the commissioners did not force him to resign (California Healthline, 7/10). Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), chair of the committee, said in a statement that Carmona "satisfactorily addressed difficult questions relating to his professional qualifications, his employment history and his management abilities." He also praised Carmona for his commitment to preventive health and his "intention to aggressively oppose" tobacco use among children and fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Rovner, Reuters Health, 7/17). As surgeon general, Carmona would lead an office of about 12 staff members, issue scientific reports and oversee the commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (California Healthline, 7/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.