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CHIME Comments on Blumenthal’s Departure from ONC

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ANN ARBOR, MI, February 4, 2011 – Leading members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) reacted to the decision of Dr. David Blumenthal to resign his post as National Coordinator for Health IT, saying his leadership was instrumental in developing the framework that will enable adoption of electronic health records nationwide.

Dr. Blumenthal’s two years as national coordinator came during the time when stimulus funding was set aside for the nation’s healthcare organizations to encourage them to adopt electronic health records (EHRs). Blumenthal has overseen the development of the program; in addition, he’s taken steps to encourage the exchange of health information among healthcare organizations; to provide educational support for smaller providers through regional extension centers; and to develop the nation’s health IT workforce.

“Dr. Blumenthal has provided great leadership to the industry,” said Pamela McNutt, senior vice president and CIO at Methodist Health System and chair of CHIME’s Policy Steering Committee. “He was open to having discussions with CIOs, discussing issues with us at past CHIME events. He was very engaged in the topic and sensitive to our concerns.”

“As a practicing MD who transitioned to using EHRs, Dr. Blumenthal knows the value of EHRs firsthand,” said Sharon Canner, CHIME’s senior director of advocacy. “He also knows how Washington works, thanks to his earlier experiences working for health committees on Capitol Hill, and that’s helped the cause of health IT as well.”

“Having had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Blumenthal on several occasions, I was always impressed by his sincerity and enthusiasm to carry out the stimulus project and move HIT adoption in this country forward,” commented Rich Correll, CHIME President and CEO.

“His real-world experience as a physician who adopted the technology enabled him to speak with experience about the challenges and rewards,” said David Muntz, senior vice president and CIO at Baylor Health Care System, who also serves on CHIME’s Board of Trustees, as well as CHIME’s Policy Steering Committee. “It was also his personal style, approachability, and interest as a listener that contributed to his success. You knew that he heard your point of view and trusted him to exercise good judgment in the face of many competing factors.”

Because of Dr. Blumenthal’s efforts to build a strong, qualified team at ONC, McNutt believes the impetus of the EHR program will continue. “The Office of the National Coordinator has great depth and talent in its ranks that should allow HITECH activities to continue as planned,” she said.

 


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