Tom Price, MD, today offered his resignation as HHS secretary, according to a statement from the White House.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted. The President intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as Acting Secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on September 29, 2017. Mr. Wright currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,” according to the statement.
According to reports from the Associated Press, the resignation comes after Price’s “costly travel triggered investigation that overshadowed the administration’s agenda and angered his boss.”
Price has been at the center of a scandal surrounding his use of private charter airplanes for government business trips.
The New York Times reported today the cost of Price’s travel was “at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights.”
Prior to the Friday announcement of his resignation, Price issued the following statement on Thursday, Sept. 28: “I continue to welcome and am cooperating fully with the Office of Inspector General review of processes and procedures related to my official travel as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). I have also taken the additional step of initiating a department review to determine if any changes or reforms are necessary. As previously stated, all of this travel was approved by legal and HHS officials. Despite this, I regret the concerns this has raised regarding the use of taxpayer dollars.”
Price further stated that he and his staff “will continue to cooperate fully with the OIG and internal review,” “take no more private charter flights as Secretary of HHS” and he “will write a personal check to the US Treasury for the expenses of [his] travel on private charter planes.”
Price was confirmed as HHS secretary on Feb. 10.
During his tenure with HHS, soon-to-be-designated secretary Don. J. Wright, MD, MPH, has led development of HHS-wide public health policy recommendations and oversaw 12 core public health offices and 11 advisory committees. Wright received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University, a medical degree from the University of Texas, and a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He completed his family medicine residency training at Baylor College of Medicine and is board-certified in both family medicine and preventive medicine. He is a fellow of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the American Academy of Family Physicians.