Talent Tuesday: Comings & Goings at HHS

There has been a lot of comings and goings at HHS this year we thought we would recap.

Starting from the top. It has been just under a year ago that the then Secretary of HHS Tom Price resigned over spending tax payer money frivolously.

Starting this new year, the Senate confirm the new Secretary, former drug industry executive Alex Azar.

In March, Chief Information Security Officer Chris Wlaschin resigned, just 15 months in the position amid controversy. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Chief Information Officer Janet Vogel will replace him. HCCCIC Director Maggie Amato and department Deputy Chief Information Security Officer Leo Scanlon were both fall outs in the shakeup. Scanlon was put on leave and Amato has since resigned.

It took a half a year for the one responsible for approving former Secretary Price’s charter plane travel to resign. John Bardis, health care entrepreneur and longtime friend of Price’s from Georgia served as HHS assistant secretary of administration since March 2017 and was responsible for departmental operations. He also helped oversee the ReImagine HHS project, an initiative to overhaul the agency and cut costs.

March ended with Secretary Azar announcing two Appointments to advance Department priorities, CVS executive Daniel M. Best, as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform and Brett Giroir, M.D., as Assistant Secretary for Health, and to serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mental Health and Opioid Policy.

In April it was announced that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI) was going in a new direction and CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced Adam Boehler, CEO of home-based care startup Landmark Health, as the new head for the Center. A move that was not controversial.

It appeared that after a rocky first quarter things might settle down and get to the people’s business for the summer. But no. July zeros in on two Trump politically appointed staffers that take to twitter for some inflammatory and racists comments.

Tim Clark, the agency’s White House liaison, resigned and was replaced by Trent Morse, who joined HHS from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. And Gavin Smith, a policy adviser was escorted from the building to end his career with the agency. And closing out the month, HHS Official Ximena Barreto resigns after scandal over anti-Muslim comments. One has to wonder, what skills and healthcare knowledge did they bring to the table when they were appointed, Dr. Price?

And just last week interim CHIO Genevieve Morris resigned from her post after just one month leading VA in its project to transition from VA’s open course VistA EHR to the Cerner EHR system. In Trump fashion, she tweeted it.

John Windom has been appointed acting CHIO of the Office of EHR Modernization.

And finally last week, Beth Killoran is out as the Department of Health and Human Services chief information officer. Beth Killoran has joined the Office of the Surgeon General at HHS after spending the last two years as the CIO. Ed Simcox, the HHS chief technology officer, will take over as acting CIO until a permanent one was named.

Stay tuned…