VA's CIO leaving for private sector

Harold Gracey, the acting chief information officer for the Department of

Veterans Affairs, is retiring effective June 1 to take a job in the private

sector.

Gracey, a 30-year government employee, has been responsible for overseeing

the operation of the VA's computer systems and telecommunication networks

for medical information, veterans benefits payments, life insurance programs

and financial management systems since June 1998.

Before taking on the technology job, he was the chief of staff at the

VA from January 1994 to June 1998 and also was the VA's liaison with the

White House chief of staff.

In an interview Tuesday, Gracey described his government service as

"fun times and down times."

"I helped the previous secretary run the department through the government

shutdown, through some tough budget years, Agent Orange — through all kinds

of exciting things, including the present where giving [the CIO office]

the credibility has been a great job to end on." Over the years, he said

he's seen great changes in the agency responsible for veterans' benefits.

"The VA today is terrifically better than the VA seven or eight years ago.

It is a modernized and streamlined health care delivery system delivered

on an outpatient basis," Gracey said.

There's no word on a successor to Gracey. The VA CIO is an assistant

secretary and must be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

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