Top CMS IT Official Resigns | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Top CMS IT Official Resigns

November 7, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Tony Trenkle, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) CIO, is stepping down from that role, as the government agency continues to face intense scrutiny for its failed rollout of the health insurance marketplace.

According to various media reports, Trenkle’s departure was announced in an internal memo this week written by CMS chief operating officer Michelle Snyder. In the memo, Synder said Trenkle was planning on leaving the CMS to take a position in the private sector and that his last day would be Nov. 15, 2013.

Trenkle was in charge of determining whether or not the Healthcare.Gov website for the health insurance exchange of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was secure enough for launch. According to a report from Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Trenkle delayed the decision until the eve of the site’s launch in August of 2013.

CBS News and other news outlets report that he never signed off on the site’s launch. Instead, it reports that CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner signed off on a “special security risk waiver” for the website. CBS News reported that Tavenner explained to Congressional members in a hearing that, "Because of the visibility of the exchange, the Chief Information Officer [Trenkle] wanted to make me aware of it and I agreed to sign it with their recommendation to proceed."

Dave Nelson, the current director of the Office of Enterprise Management, will be appointed Acting CIO of CMS after Trenkle leaves. Niall Brennan, currently the Director of the Office of Information Products and Data Analytics, Office of Enterprise Management, will serve as Acting Director of the Office of Enterprise Management.

Prior to his role at CMS, Trenkle was Director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services (OESS) from March 2005 to December 2010. Under that role, he was the lead executive for directing the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This included the regulations covering the meaningful use criteria for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentives programs and the program management for CMS operational implementation.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Trump will Nominate Acting VA Secretary Wilkie for Permanent Position

Just a day after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Cerner inked their $10 billion EHR (electronic health record) deal, President Trump said he would be nominating Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie for the permanent position.

ONC Names API Server Showdown Stage 2 Winner

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has named 1UpHealth as the Stage 2 winner of the “Secure API Server Showdown” challenge.

EHNAC Developing Trusted Exchange Accreditation Program

To align with the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission, a nonprofit standards development organization and accrediting body, is working with other organizations to establish a new Trusted Exchange Accreditation Program.

Lawmakers Demand New VA CIO, Citing “Malign Neglect” on EHR Project

A group of Democratic federal lawmakers, five senators and six members of Congress, are calling out the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for what they call “malign neglect” in the agency’s efforts to achieve electronic health record (EHR) modernization.

Medical Record Access Proves Costly for Some Patients, GAO Report Finds

Federal law requires healthcare providers to give patients access to their medical records, but according to a new GAO report, some patients believe they’re being charged too much to access their records.

Parkland’s Innovation Bridge Takes ‘Genius Bar’ Approach to Digital Health Apps

Taking inspiration from the Apple Genius Bar and Ochsner Health System’s O Bar, the Dallas-based Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation in collaboration with Parkland Health & Hospital System has opened an “Innovation Bridge” to assist patients with health-related apps.