DeSalvo Out as ONC Head, Moved to Ebola Fight.

Karen DeSalvo, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology for HHS, is leaving her post to to address public health issues, including becoming a part of the Department’s team responding to Ebola. She took over as the ONC head in January, 2014.

The ONC’s COO Lisa Lewis will serve as the agency’s acting national coordinator.

HHS spokesman Peter Ashkenaz told THCB:

“HHS Secretary Burwell asked National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo to serve as Acting Assistant Secretary for 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. 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.

Lisa Lewis, ONC’s chief operating officer, will serve as the Acting National Coordinator. However, Dr. DeSalvo will continue to support the work of ONC while she is at OASH.”

The transition comes at a time when critics are asking tough questions about the government’s Meaningful Use program and providers’ lackluster progress qualifying for Stage 2.

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13 replies »

  1. One product that our company offers that I don’t understand why it hasn’t hit mainstream use for not only sharply reducing hospital acquired infections (like 66% or more, documented) but also since the disinfectants are exactly the type recommended by the CDC about 3 months ago, is the Sanosil Halo Fogger. There is nothing and I mean nothing more effective for fast room disinfection–every hospital and surgery center should use one or more of these on a regular basis: http://www.airpurifiersandcleaners.com/sanosil-halo-fogger-disinfection-system

    Rex Murphy
    Air Purifiers and Cleaners.com

  2. She is not stupid. She is quitting in good conscience. She can not honor the Oath she took as a doctor while being an HIT chearleader and while putting up with the torrid business interests of Dvorak and others at the expense of patients.

    She knows how risky the EHRs are and how the vendors have “arranged” that there not be any surveillance as there is for all aother medical devices.

    America is being scammed by the HIT vendors. Heck, just look at that Leapfrog and HIM$$ award winning Dallas hospital that is having financial trouble, I learned.

    Betcha this Ebola crisis would not have happened without the EHR running the show and contaminating the doctors’ cognition.

  3. My heart bleeds. Slowing the runaway HIT freight train or even derailing it will be to the benefit of patients. These systems have zero evidence for improving outcomes or reducing costs. A farce, indeed.

  4. Right at the moment you have three senior level folks left at ONC that have institutional knowledge and history, Jodi Daniel, Steve Posnack, and Kelly Cronin. All the rest are gone with the latest departures. If ONC loses Jodi and Steve than Meaningful Use Stage 3 would be pretty hamstrung along with the ten year plan.

    ONC is in a world of hurt and that is going hurt the rest of us as we try to move Health IT forward.

  5. Pretty amazing that ONC has a Joint HITPC and HITSC meeting this past week and now both the National Coordinator and Deputy National Coordinator are gone. Great support for the recent ten year plan!!! I guess HHS Secretary Burwell is sending a message that she does not support Health IT at this critical junction. The other challenge is who is going to want to become National Coordinator for the next two years with a Presidential election coming up. This is a similar situation as to when Brailer left and they could not get someone from the private sector and had to turn to a Fed, Kolodner. Very sight sighted on the part of Burwell.

  6. First, they should address the fact that these devices are not safe and have not any oversight. Failure of interoperability is just but one of the flaws that lead to errors.

    These devices must have oversight.

  7. Our tax dollars at work, plus all the extra $$ paid out by hospitals and practices for inadequate programs. Yipee!

  8. ONC is going down in flames. It’s bleeding leadership left and right. Farad leaves, now DeSalvo. Judy Murphy, Doug Fridsma, Joy Pritts, Lygeia Ricciardi and now Jacob Reider.

    Over $26B spent on incentives and grants!!!! These guys are running for the hills because they know that interoperability is not working and will required more $$$$$ to get working.

  9. MU 2 is blowing up in their faces as more and more docs opt out.


  10. The heat in the ONC kitchen was too hot for her. Shocking. I am so depressed. I was hoping to hear her defend Judy Faulkner’s EHR that directed the care in Dallas.