The Senate confirmed Tanya Bradsher on Tuesday to serve as the deputy secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by a vote of 50-46.

Bradsher is taking over for former VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy, who stepped down from the role in April. As deputy secretary, Bradsher will oversee the agency’s Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHRM) program.

Before her nomination in April, Bradsher had been serving as the chief of staff for the VA, where she acted as the senior advisor to the secretary and deputy secretary.

Bradsher told senators at her confirmation hearing that her top priority at the agency would be to help fix the troubled rollout of the EHRM program. She noted she would take a “boots on the ground” approach when addressing issues that have already cropped up at the five VA facilities where the Oracle-Cerner EHR system has already been deployed.

“We need to have enterprise-wide changes and ensure that we hold Cerner Oracle accountable so that those changes actually happen,” Bradsher said.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., applauded her confirmation today, noting that the VA needs a permanent leader in place.

“Tanya Bradsher has an impressive record of serving our country in and out of uniform, especially in her recent role as VA chief of staff,” Sen. Tester said in a statement.

“Now more than ever, the department needs a strong second-in-command to uphold its mission to deliver veterans the health care and benefits they have earned, and having a confirmed leader in this role better ensures we can hold VA accountable,” he added. “I look forward to working with her in this new role to implement needed reforms that will deliver for veterans in Montana and across the country.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was among the senators who voted no, after placing a hold on Bradsher’s nomination in July, claiming she mishandled veterans’ private information.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.