VA loses CIO, potentially throwing another wrench in its contracting with Cerner

Department of Veterans Affairs CIO Scott Blackburn resigned from the agency, effective immediately, according to Federal News Radio.

Mr. Blackburn had been serving as the VA's acting CIO since October 2017, where he was in charge of the agency's Office of Information and Technology and was a leading player in the VA's EHR modernization efforts.

Mr. Blackburn didn't offer any reason for his departure in his resignation letter, but he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve at the VA.

"I wish the very best for those in VA who are dedicated to caring for veterans and I will pray every day for their success," he wrote. "I will remain both VA's biggest cheerleader and critic from afar. I remain optimistic about the future — as I know that no matter what, VA will continue to be held up by the 360,000 plus dedicated public servants serving veterans every day so many of which are veterans themselves; and I know veterans, veterans advocates, veterans service organizations and lawmakers will keep VA leadership in check and accountable."

The CIO's departure may further complicate the VA's contracting process with Cerner, the EHR it selected to replace VistA. The project — which was announced in June — has been marked with uncertainties amid the resignation of former VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, as well as concerns over its interoperability with the Department of Defense.

The VA's leadership team is now almost completely composed of officials in acting titles, and many of those positions have gone unfilled for nearly 400 days, according to Federal News Radio.

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