More on Brailer

I’m working on a story about Dr. David Brailer’s resignation that will appear in Health-IT World tomorrow, but since so many people are coming to this page in search of details, here is a brief synopsis from this morning’s media conference call:

  • Brailer’s resignation is effective May 19. He has agreed to head up the search for a successor, although a replacement might not be on the job until late summer, just because any political appointee must pass a background check and clear any financial conflicts of interest. In the meantime, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is nearing the end of its search for a permanent deputy coordinator.

  • A successor likely will come from outside the federal government.

  • He does not have a new job lined up yet.

  • Brailer says that he originally agreed to take the job for two years because he doesn’t consider himself an inside-the-Beltway type. Indeed, the primary reason cited for his departure is the fact that his wife and young son are in San Francisco, and Brailer has been commuting coast-to-coast on a weekly basis, at his own expense. He joined the conference call from his San Francisco home—at 6:30 a.m. PDT.

  • Although he considers the job to be rewarding, Brailer talked of the hectic schedule and the many hours of “very tedious work.”

  • He says that his agenda is “ahead of schedule,” although it took about a year longer than planned to get the office fully up and running, mostly due to the fact that his office was locked out of federal appropriations for fiscal year 2005. That said, he says that the administration’s $150 million budget request for ONCHIT for fiscal 2007 “is about right.”

  • He has two chief concerns: that the health IT adoption gap between large health systems and small providers will persist; and that, once people get connected, they will not necessarily share information.

  • Brailer still struggles to get other federal departments to understand how the healthcare system works, though he says that many members of Congress are showing great interest.

I have an audio recording of the conference call and perhaps will post some snippets later this week. It was a government-sponsored event, so it’s in the public domain.

On a side note, Thursday marks the second anniversary of the executive order that created the position of national health IT coordinator.