Jon White, M.D., acting chief medical officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, also now is serving as acting deputy national coordinator following the departure of Jacob Reider, M.D.

White’s responsibilities will include supporting National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, M.D., in such areas as management of senior staff and executive oversight for all ONC activities, according to a message sent to ONC staff.

In the message, DeSalvo noted that searches continue for a permanent deputy national coordinator and a permanent chief medical officer. White, who also is assuming Reider’s role as chair of the Health IT Standards Committee, is on loan from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

ONC has had significant personnel changes this year, which included DeSalvo being reassigned to serve as acting assistant secretary of health to work on Ebola response efforts. That move led some industry stakeholders to object, and DeSalvo returned to ONC on a part-time basis. And that led to confusion about who is doing what at ONC and concern that the office may be in disarray.

Not so, says ONC spokesperson Peter Ashkenaz. In general, DeSalvo is focusing on four major initiatives: development of an interoperability roadmap, the federal health IT strategic plan, health IT certification program, and next steps for the meaningful use program. She’s also speaking at various conferences and events, as are other ONC leaders.

Lisa Lewis is focusing on budget and certain operational issues, and splitting oversight of the work of various ONC offices along with Jon White. Andy Gettinger, M.D., who recently joined ONC to lead patient safety initiatives within the Office of Clinical Quality and Safety, also now will serve as acting director of the office, which White had been leading.

Ashkenaz says ONC continues to do a lot of focused work with results becoming evident in the near future. “We’re doing what we should be doing.”

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