ONC Leadership Shakeup: Muntz Steps Down, Reider Steps Up

Several leadership changes at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) were made public Sept. 26.

Jacob Reider, MD, director of ONC’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer, has been named the acting national coordinator for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, according to an article in Modern Healthcare.

Reider is replacing outgoing National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD, who will be leaving ONC on October 5. Reider, a family physician with 20 years of experience in health information technology, will assume the role on Oct. 4 as the search for his permanent replacement is conducted.

Department of Health and Human Services officials will also need to search for a new principle deputy coordinator. It was also announced that David Muntz, principal deputy coordinator and second in command at ONC, will also be leaving the organization next month. Muntz intends to return to the private sector, according to the Modern Healthcare article.

Lisa Lewis, current deputy national coordinator for operations, was named the acting replacement for Muntz. Joy Pritts will continue working as chief privacy officer at ONC.

David Muntz, principal deputy at ONC, addresses the summit audience.

David Muntz, principal deputy at ONC, addresses the HII Summit audience.

Muntz, the former senior vice president and chief information officer of the Baylor Health Care System, and board member of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, began his stint as principal chief deputy at ONC in January 2012. Muntz and Mostashari made the announcement in joint e-mails to ONC staff Wednesday.

In his announcement e-mail, Mostashari said, “David Muntz and I have been honored to work together leading this exceptional organization, and we will be departing together as well. David informed me several weeks ago of his decision to return to the private sector to work more closely on the front-lines of medicine, but I asked him to hold off on any announcement until we could complete the transition planning.”

Both Reider and Muntz were presenters at last week’s AHIMA Health Information Integrity Summit, which took place in Alexandria, VA on Sept. 16 and 17.

Muntz, a former health information management professional, discussed the challenges that come from electronic health record systems (EHRs) reaching critical mass in the industry, and characterized HIM departments as the unsung heroes of hospitals.

Reider told attendees during his presentation that HIM professionals must be “disruptively innovative” to help their healthcare partners implement information governance initiatives and meaningfully use EHR systems. In the rush to digitize health records, Reider said too many providers are trying to replicate the paper record electronically, and that lack of innovation is slowing progress.

“Work with your doctors. You’re shortstop and they’re second base, where we are now is not working,” Reider said during the summit.

 

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