Kussman was expected to retire this summer, and VA officials stressed that his departure now is not connected to an investigation to determine possible links between a VA patient's positive HIV test and unsterilized medical equipment.
In addition to concerns about the treatment of VA patients, Kussman recently acknowledged in a memo serious problems with an eight-year, $167 million project to develop a new computerized scheduling system for patients at VA hospitals.
Kussman's departure follows last week's Senate confirmation of W. Scott Gould to serve as the VA deputy secretary. By law, Gould will lead the search commission tasked with recommending candidates to President Obama to serve as the next undersecretary.
Kussman, a medical doctor, has held various military and government positions for 37 years and first joined the VA in 2000.