Medicare’s on the Hunt for a Health IT Expert

From Health Care Blog

By James Swann | July 27, 2018

If you’re an expert on health information technology strategy, Medicare may have the perfect job for you. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced it’s hiring a chief health informatics officer who will be responsible for working with the public and private sector to promote health IT and encourage the free exchange of medical records.

The high-level position might mean a lower profile for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which has been tasked with promoting a national health IT strategy since it debuted in 2004. The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget request called for $38 million for the ONC, down from the $60 million it received in 2017.

The ONC isn’t going anywhere, but it will be leaving the strategic health IT decisions to the CMS and focusing on developing the standards used to certify electronic health record technology, Ammon Fillmore, a health-care attorney with Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman PC in Indianapolis, told me.

There’s a potential leadership void when it comes to health IT due to the reduced role of the ONC, and CMS is well-positioned to fill it with the new position, Eric Fader, a health-care attorney with Day Pitney in New York, told me.

Overhauling the CMS’s IT systems and reconfiguring the EHR incentive program to focus on the national exchange of medical records, also known as interoperability, are reasons enough to create the new position, Fader said.

There’s no timeline in place for filling the position, but the CMS hopes to hire someone as soon as possible, an agency spokesman told me. The job will pay between $134,789 and $164,200 a year and is a career federal position.

All candidates will have to go through a competitive hiring process that could delay filling the job, the spokesman said.

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