Former ONC chief Blumenthal to lead Commonwealth Fund
David Blumenthal, MD, who was the national coordinator for health IT from 2009 to 2011, has been appointed president of the Commonwealth Fund. He will succeed Karen Davis, effective Jan. 1, 2013.
Blumenthal, who is currently Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief health information and innovation officer at Partners Healthcare System in Boston, has also been elected a member of the Fund's board of directors, say Commonwealth officials. He currently serves as the chairman of the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.
[See also: Blumenthal steps down from ONC.]
The Commonwealth Fund, which was founded in 1918 and has an endowment of $700 million, works towards improving the performance of the U.S. healthcare system, working to achieve "better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults."
"We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Blumenthal take the helm of the Fund at a crucial time in the drive to achieve a high performance health system," said Commonwealth Fund board chairman James R. Tallon, Jr. "If the U.S. is to realize the triple aims of better health, better care, and lower cost, it will need over the next 10 years unstinting efforts by health policy and practice leaders like Dr. Blumenthal. He is ideally suited to carry forward The Commonwealth Fund’s significant role in advancing delivery and payment system changes that will improve system performance."
As national coordinator, Blumenthal spearheaded efforts to construct an interoperable, private, and secure nationwide health information system and to support the widespread, meaningful use of health IT.
He helmed the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) in the years immediately following the passage of the The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which Commonwealth officials point out was one of the largest publicly funded infrastructure investments the nation has ever made in such a short time period, in healthcare or any other field.
"With his national stature, broad experience, and skill in leading while building consensus, Dr. Blumenthal is perfectly suited to lead the foundation in moving the U.S. health care system to one that achieves access to safe, high-quality, efficient, and effective care for all Americans," said Davis. "He is already providing strong leadership of the Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health System, and will be able to move swiftly into leading the Fund as a whole."
Blumenthal lauded the achievements of Davis, who has served as Commonwealth Fund president since 1995.