A longtime advocate for providers in small and rural communities, Randy McCleese, vice president of information services and CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Ky., has been recognized as the winner of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executive’s (CHIME) Federal Public Policy Award for CIO Leadership.
According to a statement from the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based CHIME, McCleese serves on CHIME’s Policy Steering Committee and “has been instrumental in helping inform members of Congress and regulators about the impact health policy has not only on small and rural communities, but across the care continuum.” The statement continued, “He’s been a thought leader on a number of critical issues facing health IT leaders, including expansion of telehealth services, the future of the Meaningful Use program, cybersecurity, and more. The Federal Public Policy Award recognizes leadership by a CHIME member for a range of activities, including educating policymakers on the value of health IT, testifying before federal workgroups or congressional committees, visiting representatives, and providing feedback on federal initiatives.”
McCleese himself said, “Law and policymakers need to hear from those of us on the frontlines, especially at small healthcare organizations. Small organizations operate on razor-thin margins, making it extremely difficult to figure out how we are going to meet complex regulatory requirements, especially when we have competing needs to allocate both financial and human resources toward technology that directly impacts patient care and can help save lives.”
A Policy Steering Committee member since 2009, McCleese has seen a growing awareness in Washington, D.C., of the important role that CIOs play in transforming care. He noted that CHIME and its members have become a vital resource in helping inform and shape public policy. CHIME led the charge in getting congressional leaders and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to advance flexibility in the Meaningful Use program, including a 90-day reporting period. And, as McCleese noted, CHIME has been invited to participate in top Obama administration programs, including the Precision Medicine Initiative and cybersecurity efforts.
“Randy brings a critical voice to CHIME’s public policy efforts,” said Charles Christian, vice president of technology and engagement, Indiana Health Information Exchange, and chair of the CHIME Public Policy Steering Committee. “With limited resources, CIOs at small and rural organizations wear a lot of hats; Randy is able to delivery that unique perspective and explain how different regulatory programs converge and impact operations and patient care. He also lives by example. St. Claire has a very robust IT infrastructure and he’s been able to show how small organizations can maximize IT to improve care across the continuum.”
McCleese will be honored this week as part of National Health IT Week in Washington, D.C., and officially presented with the award at the CHIME16 Fall CIO Forum in Phoenix in November.