In an e-mail to Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) staff on Sept. 25 acquired by Healthcare Informatics, departing national coordinator of health IT, Farzad Mostashari, M.D. announced that Jacob Reider, M.D. will take over as acting national coordinator. It was also announced that David Muntz has tendered his resignation as principal deputy national coordinator for health IT.
Effective Oct. 4, the management team will be led by Jacob Reider, previously director of ONC's Office of the Chief Medical Officer, Lisa Lewis, who will serve as acting principal deputy, with Joy Pritts continuing to serve as the chief privacy officer and political appointee, Mostashari said in the e-mail.
It was announced on Aug. 6 that Mostashari would step down as ONC chief.
Reider is a family physician with 20 years of experience in health information technology and special interest in clinical innovation, user experience, and clinical decision support. His background includes leadership roles in nearly all facets of the health IT domain—from small start-up companies to academic facilities, primary care medical groups, and large health IT development organizations.
Reider brings a lot of different experiences and perspectives to the position, says Jerry Osheroff, M.D., principal at TMIT Consulting in Cherry Hill, N.J., and leader of the CDS Collaborative For Performance Improvement, a nationwide initiative working on clinical decision support improvement. “He has worked in primary care medical groups and for EHR vendors, so he can see things from both sides,” he said. “He is a thoughtful guy, who is not a ready, fire, aim sort of person. He is very supportive of other people he works with and is great at bringing out the best in others.”
Prior to joining ONC, Muntz was the senior vice president and CIO for the Baylor Health Care System, and was responsible for more than 730 information services employees who cared for a delivery system with more than 280 points of entry. Muntz told his fellow ONC’ers in the abovementioned e-mail that he plans to return to the private sector.
“The goals and objectives of our diverse and important activities helped me understand and accept the challenges, and then embrace them,” Muntz wrote. “I was sustained by the spirit and talent that I encountered every step along the way. You’ve heard me say on several occasions that I’ve never seen such a group of dedicated leaders and staff. It is heartwarming and head-pleasing to have worked with all of the federal staff and to represent the providers and patients in the private and public sector who are pulling and pushing us toward a very promising future where the collective efforts will benefit the nation and the world. The people and the progress are awe inspiring. It’s been a privilege to have played any role in such a truly transformative era, much less a leadership role in all the successes we have achieved both inside and outside ONC.”
Mostashari said in his e-mail that, “David Muntz and I have been honored to work together leading this exceptional organization and we will be departing together as well. David informed me several weeks ago of his decision to return to the private sector to work more closely on the front-lines of medicine, but I asked him to hold off on any announcement until we could complete the transition planning.”
ONC Operations Would Come To a Halt
In a separate development, a well-placed federal government source confirmed to Healthcare Informatics, when given anonymity, that the operations of the ONC would halt entirely should the federal government be shut down the week of September 30, as some Capitol Hill observers are predicting, based on conflicts between the two major parties over the continuing resolution needed to fund federal government operations. While parts of the Department of Health and Human Services would be shielded from shutdown, the source confirmed that ONC would be affected in all its operations. HCI will continue to update readers on federal government developments as they become known.