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I was wrong: Muntz to leave ONC

On Sept. 17, I predicted that Principal Deputy National Coordinator David Muntz would lead the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at least on an interim or acting basis when National Coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari departs at the end of next week.

I was wrong.

Last night, Muntz announced his resignation in an e-mail to ONC staff:

From: Muntz, David (OS/ONC)
Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 8:47 PM
Subject: Farewell to my federal family and friends

It is with a great deal of gratitude and sadness I have tendered my resignation as Principal Deputy National Coordinator for Health IT.   All of the ONC staff and, for that matter, all of the federal staff with whom I worked, have been more than patient and generous as I entered the world of federal public service.

The goals and objectives of our diverse and important activities helped me understand and accept the challenges, and then embrace them.  I was sustained by the spirit and talent that I encountered every step along the way.  You’ve heard me say on several occasions that I’ve never seen such a group of dedicated leaders and staff.  It is heartwarming and head-pleasing to have worked with all of the federal staff and to represent the providers and patients in the private and public sector who are pulling and pushing us toward a very promising future where the collective efforts will benefit the nation and the world.  The people and the progress are awe inspiring.  It’s been a privilege to have played any role in such a truly transformative era, much less a leadership role in all the successes we have achieved both inside and outside ONC.

I look forward to continuing to support HHS’ vision of achieving interoperability and better engaging patients from the private sector.  With many wonderful memories and much gratitude, David

David S. Muntz, CHCIO, FCHIME, LCHIME, FHIMSS

Principal Deputy

HHS/Office of the National Coordinator

Also last night, Mostashari announced that Dr. Jacob Reider, director of the ONC Office of the Chief Medical Officer, will serve as acting national coordinator and Lisa Lewis, currently deputy national coordinator for operations, will be acting principal deputy, effective Oct. 4. Joy Pritts will remain as chief privacy officer and political appointee, Mostashari noted.

Mostashari also said that Muntz informed him “several weeks ago of his decision to return to the private sector to work more closely on the front-lines of medicine.”

I shall not make any further predictions about next full-time coordinator.

September 26, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

At the very least, expect Muntz to be acting national coodinator

I don’t have any inside knowledge about whom the White House might be considering to replace Dr. Farzad Mostashari when he steps down from his post as national health IT coordinator on Oct. 5, but I get the sense Principal Deputy National Coordinator David Muntz will at least be acting head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. What makes me think this?

Here is the lineup for tomorrow’s press conference at the U.S. Capitol marking National Health IT Week:

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
  • Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.)
  • ONC Principal Deputy National Coordinator David Muntz
  • Former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer
  • Incoming Director of the Department of Health for the District of Columbia Dr. Joxel Garcia

Mostashari isn’t speaking. Muntz is. The transition is underway.

By the way, I had a chance to interview Mostashari yesterday. Stay tuned for details.

September 17, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.