ONC Chief DeSalvo Vacates Role, Reider Resigns CMO Post

Kyle Murphy | EHR Intelligence | October 24, 2014

Leadership changes atop ONC raise questions about the agency’s ability to achieve its long-term plans for interoperability.

Less than a year into her role as the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, is moving on, at least in a temporary capacity, to another important position within the Department of Health & Human Services, the federal agency has confirmed.  According to a statement from the ONC, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell approached the National Coordinator to serve as Acting Assistant Secretary Health, effective immediately.

“In this role she will work with the Secretary on pressing public health issues, including becoming a part of the Department’s team responding to Ebola,” the statement reads. “Dr. DeSalvo has deep roots and a belief in public health and its critical value in assuring the health of everyone, not only in crisis, but every day.”  The ONC’s Chief Operating Officer Lisa Lewis will as Acting National Coordinator and will still have support from DeSalvo, whose future with the ONC remains unclear. The Senate will seek a permanent Acting Assistant Secretary, but neither HHS or ONC is indicating whether DeSalvo is up for that position or will return to her role as National Coordinator.

A decision that is permanent is the one made by Jacob Reider, MD, who will be stepping down from his post at the ONC’s Chief Medical Officer and Deputy National Coordinator.
“As some of you know, I have been commuting to DC from my home in Albany NY, and committed to my family that three years would be the limit of such an arrangement,” Reider said in a note to ONC staff. “I’m a marathon runner — so I have very good stamina — but even marathons have a finish line!”...