HHS taps Navy's Wah for health IT post

DOD's medical transformation

The Department of Health and Human Services tapped Navy Capt. Robert Wah to serve as acting deputy national coordinator for health information technology. Wah is one of five top interim officials chosen by HHS until the department can recruit a senior management team for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. (ONCHIT).

Wah, a reproductive endocrinologist, previously served as the director of information management and associate chief information officer of the Military Health System.

HHS also named Dr. Karen Bell as acting director of ONCHIT’s Office of IT. Bell was director of the division of improved policy and quality for ambulatory and chronic care in the quality improvement group. That group was part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of Clinical Standards and Quality.

Dr. John Loonsk was named acting director of ONCHIT’s Office of Interoperability and Standards. Loonsk comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he was acting director of the National Center for Public Health Informatics.

Dana Haza will serve as acting director of ONCHIT’s Office of Programs and Coordination. Haza was executive director of the President’s Commission on Systemic Interoperability and will assume her ONCHIT duties after the commission delivers its report to the President in late October.

ONCHIT also named Jodi Daniel as its acting director of the Office of Policy and Research. Daniel was senior counsel for health information technology in HHS’ Office of General Counsel.

HHS plans to post job openings for permanent staff for these positions on the Office of Personnel Management’s Web site, www.usajobs.opm.gov, Oct. 11.

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