HHS mum on top ONC appointment: 5 things to know

Since Friday, the health IT world has been buzzing with news that Donald Rucker, MD, may be the new national coordinator for health IT. However, the appointment — which does not require Congressional confirmation — has not been confirmed by HHS.

Here are five things to know.

1. Politico first reported Dr. Rucker's appointment on March 31. David Pittman, a Politico eHealth reporter, tweeted the news along with a link to his Politico Pro article after reviewing the updated HHS personnel directory, according to the Politico Morning eHealth newsletter. Dr. Rucker — who is board-certified in emergency medicine, internal medicine and clinical informatics — previously served as CMO of Premise Health and Siemens Healthcare.

2. However, HHS told industry media outlets — such as govinfosecurity.com — the department is not commenting on personnel at this time. Becker's Hospital Review reached out to HHS for comment and will update this story as more information becomes available.

3. The HHS listing that previously included Dr. Rucker's employee details can no longer be viewed online. Industry media outlets that previously linked to Dr. Rucker's directory listing are now directed to Angela Rivera-Saettone, an administrative assistant.

4. Even without HHS confirmation, health IT stakeholders have begun welcoming Dr. Rucker. Previous ONC heads shared their congratulations. Doug Fridsma, CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association, and Joel White, senior advisor of Health IT Now, are among those who have extended their support to Dr. Rucker, according to Politico Morning eHealth.

5. The new national coordinator for health IT, once announced by HHS, will replace Jon White, MD, who has been serving as acting national coordinator for health IT since Vindell Washington, MD, stepped down earlier this year.

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