Obama Nominates DeSalvo to be HHS Assistant Secretary for Health

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President Obama on Wednesday announced his intent to nominate National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, M.D., to be Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services—a position she has been serving in on an interim basis.

DeSalvo in October 2014 was designated as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS to help with the Obama administration’s Ebola response efforts—a move that led some industry stakeholders to object. For instance, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell warning that their organizations only support DeSalvo’s appointment as the Assistant Secretary for Health if it is intended to be for a short duration with her quickly returning to full-time leadership of ONC.

Also See: Call for New ONC Leader if DeSalvo Part-Time Duties Continue

In an effort to reassure the health IT community at large of her continued involvement in policymaking, DeSalvo remained chair of the HIT Policy Committee and continued to work on high-level policy issues at ONC. However, now that DeSalvo has been formally nominated for the assistant secretary position, it will raise some of the same apprehensions among stakeholders.  

So far, there has been no announcement as to who will replace DeSalvo at ONC.

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