The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) took another step in replacing one of its key displaced leadership positions this week when it named Lucia Savage as its chief privacy officer.
Savage comes to ONC from UnitedHealthcare, where she serves as senior associate general counsel. She supervises a team representing UnitedHealthcare in its work in large data transactions related to health information exchanges, healthcare transparency projects, and other data-driven health care innovation projects, National Coordinator for Health IT, Karen DeSalvo, M.D., said in an email to staff.
Before that, Savage was general counsel at nonprofit, Business Group on Health. She oversaw affairs and state policy initiatives for an employer healthcare purchasing coalition and its health insurance exchange, PacAdvantage.
“She has stellar qualifications and a passion for health IT in this nation and our work. I am confident that she will bring her wealth of experience to advance critical privacy and security policies in health IT development and implementation,” Dr. DeSalvo wrote in the email.
Savage replaces Joy Pritts, who left the ONC in June. Pritts was the first chief privacy officer at the ONC. She was one of the first C-level leaders who departed ONC in the past few months. Others who have departed the ONC since June have been Judy Murphy, R.N., chief nursing officer (CNO); Doug Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., chief science officer; and Lygeia Ricciardi, head of Office of Consumer eHealth.
In a recent conference, HCI’s Mark Hagland asked ONC’s chief medical officer, Jacob Reider, about the departures. He said, “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.”