Health IT Coordinator Resigns
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Brailer on Thursday announced his resignation, the Financial Times reports.
Brailer, who cited family reasons for his decision to resign, said that his weekly commute from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., has "been a huge personal agony." In addition, he said that his resignation involved "no drama," adding, "Surely some people will use my leaving to attack the president or to say the program is not going well."
According to the Times, Brailer, who held the position for two years, "commissioned a string of initiatives aimed at getting hospitals, doctors, health plans and IT vendors working together to deliver an initiative intended to improve the quality of care and potentially lower its cost" (Timmins, Financial Times, 4/20).
During his tenure, Brailer "had to struggle to retain funding for his office at a time when the administration promoted health care IT as a top priority," CQ HealthBeat reports (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 4/20).
Brailer said that the office "is now mature and moving in the right direction" and that, "if anyone expected me to stay to the point where every doctor and patient has an electronic health record, that was a profoundly unrealistic expectation" (Financial Times, 4/20).
According to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Brailer has agreed to serve as a consultant to HHS on health care IT, as well as vice chair of the American Health Information Community. The Bush administration has not named a replacement for Brailer.
Leavitt said in a statement that he accepted the decision by Brailer to resign "with regret," adding that, "over the past two years, David has made significant progress in advancing the president's health IT agenda and laying the building blocks for future progress."
Michael Zamore, policy adviser to Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), said, "He's really shaped the field. Brailer has coalesced government and private sector activities in the field. There's more of a road map than there was before."
Janet Marchibroda, CEO of the eHealth Initiative, said, "Much groundwork has been laid through his leadership, the creation of the office and the many contracts that were issued to support the development and adoption of standards for interoperability" (CQ HealthBeat, 4/20).