Concern for the VA E-health Project Following Key Resignation
Contributed by Debbie Gregory
Genevieve Morris, chief health information officer of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization stepped down from her role, just one month after taking the job.
The multibillion-dollar overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health records is intended to allow veterans to track their care through the VA, Department of Defense, and private medical providers. The project was a top priority for VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.
Morris cited differences with VA leadership as the reason for her departure.
In her resignation email to the VA and the Department of Health and Human Services, Morris wrote, “Over the last few weeks, it has become clear to me that VA’s leadership intends to take the EHR modernization effort in a different direction than we were headed.”
In response, Wilkie thanked Morris for her service and named John Windom to replace Morris. Windom is a recently retired Navy captain, who helped lead the Department of Defense EHR modernization project and the VA negotiations with Cerner over the last year.
“VA will benefit from John’s strong background on this project, as it begins the transition to the new system for the benefit of veterans’ care in the future,” Wilkie said Monday in a statement.
Morris’ email brings to light continued concerns about VA leadership and the influence of what’s been dubbed the ‘Mar-A-Lago Council,’ referring to the three friends of President Trump who have been influencing policies, decisions and personnel changes at the agency.
“It would be a tragedy for the program to be undermined by personality conflicts and bureaucratic power struggles before it even begins in earnest,” said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) who is chairman of a new congressional subcommittee tasked with overseeing VA technology. “I am dedicated to pursuing a constructive oversight agenda to encourage VA to make the right decisions, but any engagement is difficult without stable leadership.”