New VA CIO ready to bolster agency's IT

Council brings a solid IT background to the agency
By Healthcare IT News
09:44 AM
veteran saluting American flag

LaVerne Council took the reins Monday as the next CIO of the Department of Veterans Affairs, ending a wait of almost three years to fill the position.

The Senate confirmed Council June 23 by voice vote as CIO and assistant secretary for information and technology.

Council said during her Senate confirmation hearings that she has ambitious plans for the CIO's office. She comes to the VA with a background as an IT leader at major corporations including Dell, Johnson and Johnson, and Ernst and Young.

"I plan to bring these core capabilities to the VA and create a fiscally responsible organization led by employees that have the ability to quickly drive to the expected results," she said, according to Federal Times. "This will also increase the ability to attract and maintain highly qualified personnel, which is a requirement if you want to have world class IT."

Council officially replaces former VA CIO Roger Baker, who resigned in February of 2013, and Stephen Warren has been serving as both acting CIO and the principle deputy assistant secretary for IT, a role to which he will devote his full time.

"I'm really excited about getting [Council's] leadership in," Warren said.

The Senate also confirmed David Shulkin to be undersecretary for health. VA Secretary Bob McDonald welcomed both Council and Shulkin.

"VA is very excited to have David Shulkin and LaVerne Council join us as undersecretary for health and assistant secretary for information technology and chief information officer," McDonald said, according to Federal Times. "Their leadership and years of experience will be tremendously important as we continue to work to improve our services for the veterans and families we are privileged to serve."