The Tragedy Of Roger Baker

David Perera | FierceGovernmentIT | February 19, 2013

Roger Baker's decision to leave the Veterans Affairs Department is, on reflection, a tragedy. Yes, it comes shortly after his lamentable participation in the joint VA-Defense Department total whitewash of a presentation announcing cancelation of the iEHR program.

Defense and VA officials are quick to note that they haven't abandoned the notion of interoperability nor of data portability--but the cheery spin they placed on the announcement of the cancelation ("we're accelerating the program! Yay!") was a misdirection. Where once there was going to be a single EHR for both departments, now there will continue to be separate ones. Baker knew better but went along with the spin.

His resignation also comes ahead of what could be a difficult time for the Veterans Benefits Administration in rolling out the $537 million Veterans Benefits Management System--which even the VBA acknowledges can't yet do all the things that adjudicators need to do in order to process a claim. Getting out ahead of that might be a wise decision...