The Department of Veterans Affairs appointed Sunaina Kumar-Giebel as interim director of the VA Rocky Mountain Network, according to a Monday news release.

Kumar-Giebel is currently the network’s deputy director and chief operating officer.

She replaces the previous director, Ralph Gigliotti, who retired after a 40-year federal government career, according to the release. The role oversees health care to more than one million eligible veterans, a budget upward of $5 billion and 20,000 employees.

“Ms. Kumar-Giebel’s sound leadership qualities and proven experience will be valuable assets for the network, the employees and volunteers, and most importantly, the Veterans we are honored to serve,” said RimaAnn Nelson, the VA assistant undersecretary for Health for Operations, in the release.

The VA Rocky Mountain Network, headquartered in Glendale, covers more than 100 clinics and eight health care systems over 500,000 square miles in Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

In the interim director’s role, Kumar-Giebel has authority over a range of functions in the network, such as safety and occupational health, emergency management, research compliance and financial, human resources and supply chain management. She also oversees day-to-day operations. Eight health care system directors of the VA Rocky Mountain Network will report to Kumar-Giebel. She will also have authority over a chief medical officer, chief nursing officer, and quality management officer, spokesperson Jason Strickland said in an email.

Kumar-Giebel’s interim role lasts 120 days, until April 29, according to Strickland. The vacancy for the permanent director was posted from Nov. 15 to Nov. 30. The selection for a Senior Executive Service position — which serves just below top presidential appointees — requires extensive background checks, Strickland said. The VA Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Operations is in the process of reviewing certifications for the next permanent director.

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