Cerner exec takes leave of absence to focus on congressional campaign

Amanda Adkins, vice president of strategic growth at Cerner, is taking a leave of absence from the Kansas City, Mo.-based EHR company as she campaigns for a seat in Congress, according to a Jan. 23 McClatchy report.

Ms. Adkins went on unpaid leave from Cerner in mid-January. She has been with the company for 15 years.

"[Ms. Adkins] has made the decision to devote all her energy into the campaign and pursue a congressional bid," a Cerner spokesperson told the publication. "We wish her luck as she works full-time to represent her constituency and vies for the candidacy."

Ms. Adkins, a former Kansas Republican chair, is campaigning to unseat U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan, in Kansas' 3rd congressional district. She announced her bid for the congressional seat in September 2019, at which time she had reportedly planned to remain with Cerner throughout her campaign.

Cerner policies prevent employees from working on campaigns during company time, "But as a salaried executive [Ms.] Adkins didn't use a daily time clock, which potentially clouded the distinction between company and personal time prior to her leave of absence," according to the report.

Cerner is currently under a 10-year, $16 billion contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to develop and deploy a new EHR system across its network. Federal election rules do not allow federal contractors to give directly to federal candidates, so Ms. Adkins' unpaid leave ensures Cerner does not violate the regulation, according to the report.

It is unclear whether Ms. Adkins will return to her position at Cerner post-election. If elected, working at Cerner could raise a potential conflict of interest since she may end up serving on federal committees that have oversight of Cerner's contracts.

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