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ONC’s Jacob Reider: “No Hemorrhaging” at ONC

October 7, 2014
by Mark Hagland
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ONC’s Jacob Reider reassured his audience that there was no pattern in the recent series of departures from the agency
Jacob Reider, M.R., speaking at the Health IT Summit in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 7

Following a broad presentation on the current goals and initiatives at the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) at the Health IT Summit in Washington, being sponsored by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2), Jacob Reider, M.D., ONC’s chief medical officer, and the conference’s opening keynote speaker, responded to questions from the audience.

In response to a question from Healthcare Informatics regarding the issue of whether the recently announced departures of Judy Murphy, R.N., ONC’s chief nursing officer, Doug Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., the agency’s chief science officer, and others, including Lygeia Ricciardi and Joy Pritts, involved any kind of pattern, Reider assured HCI and his audience that there was no pattern involved.

“ONC is an organization of 180 people,” Reider said. “And for those of you who were around last year when I was Acting National Coordinator, I talked about how ONC functions like a large family. It’s not about an individual or a set of individuals. Doug Fridsma, our Chief Scientist, has taken a position as CEO of the AMIA. Judy Murphy, our chief nursing officer, will join IBM Healthcare Global Business Services as [its chief nursing officer]. And Joy Pritts, our chief privacy officer, has left government.”

Reider went on to say, “These sorts of things happen. There are not ominous. They don’t mean that ONC has lost its vision. There’s no deep, dark subplot. Each one of us contributes, but we all execute [work] together. So yes, a number of leaders of the organization have chosen different career paths at this point in their lives. But that says nothing about ONC—there’s no exodus, there’s no ‘hemorrhaging,’ as someone in the press put it—none of the above. The agency has 180 people, and there really hasn’t been, on a percentage basis, a large turnover overall at all. ONC has been around 10 years. Rest assured that the organization continues and will continue through this administration and other administrations.”