Top VA Official Overseeing Rocky EHRM Rollout Steps Down

VA deputy secretary Donald Remy’s departure from the agency comes less than a week after the EHRM executive director stepped down from her position.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) deputy secretary Donald Remy will step down on April 1st after overseeing the agency’s rocky EHR modernization (EHRM) rollout that launched in 2020, according to reporting from The Spokesman-Review.

Remy began the position in July 2021 and oversaw the EHRM program, among other responsibilities, such as adapting VA care to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remy took office soon after VA Secretary Denis McDonough delayed the go-live of the EHR at additional facilities due to concerns about system issues at Spokane’s Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center.

As the top VA official managing the project, Remy told a congressional panel in November 2021, “The Cerner system works.”

However, in July 2022, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed that Remy was informed before that hearing that the EHR had delayed care and caused patient harm.

“I am confident that VA is on the path to delivering a modern electronic health record that is useable, reliable, and enhances Veteran outcomes,” Remy wrote in an internal email to colleagues after the agency announced his departure. “I will be celebrating you as you make these goals a reality for VA and for those we serve.”

McDonough thanked Remy for his service in a press release.

“Deputy Secretary Remy is a great leader, a true friend, and a steadfast public servant who has fought like hell every day for our nation’s Veterans,” McDonough said. “He’s helped lead VA through the pandemic and to the point where we are delivering more care and more benefits to more Veterans than ever before.”

Guy Kiyokawa, VA assistant secretary for enterprise integration, will take Remy’s place as interim deputy secretary.

The news of the deputy secretary’s exit comes less than a week after Terry Adirim, MD, MPH, MBA stepped down as executive director of the EHRM program after about a year on the job.

In congressional testimony on Tuesday, Michael Missal, VA inspector general said, “frequent turnover in key positions” has robbed the agency of “stable leadership that fosters responsibility.”

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