VA Cerner EHR Project CHIO Genevieve Morris resigns

After just one month on the job, the Morris reportedly stepped down as VA leadership “intends to take the EHR modernization effort in a different direction than we were headed."
By Jessica Davis
12:54 PM
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Genevieve Morris

Genevieve Morris, chief health information officer of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization stepped down from her role this morning, just one month after moving into the position, a VA spokesperson confirmed to Healthcare IT News.

Morris was on detail from the Department of Health and Human Services. Her intended plans have not been announced.

In her resignation email to both departments, obtained by Politico, Morris cited VA leadership as the reason for her departure: “Over the last few weeks, it has become clear to me that VA’s leadership intends to take the EHR modernization effort in a different direction than we were headed.”

John Windom will take over as acting CHIO for OEHRM. Windom is a recently retired Navy captain, who helped lead the Department of Defense EHR modernization project and the VA negotiations with Cerner over the last year.

[Also: Vets group sues Trump administration to end 'Mar-A-Lago Council' influence on VA]

The departure is just the latest executive departure for the agency. In fact, the OEHRM Chief Medical Officer Ash Zenooz, MD announced her resignation on Tuesday, which will go into effect Sept. 4. The staffing shakeups, however, began even earlier.

President Donald Trump fired Former VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD in March. His departure was followed by longtime acting CIO Scott Blackburn in April and the retirement of VA Deputy Secretary Thomas Bowman in May.

Trump nominated EY cyber executive James Paul Gfrerer as the agency’s CIO in July.

Morris’ email brings to light continued concerns about VA leadership and the influence of what’s been dubbed the ‘Mar-A-Lago Council.’ The three friends of Trump have been influencing policies, decisions and personnel changes at the agency.

Veterans’ advocacy group VoteVets and Democracy Forward sued the Trump administration on Aug. 20 to put an end to it.

But with a projected March 2020 go-live for the new Cerner EHR in the Pacific Northwest, these staffing changes are more than concerning. Congress has aired those concerns in several committee meetings, but VA officials have stressed the project will follow the DoD rollout.

In response, the House formed a committee in July to ensure the VA Cerner EHR modernization stays on track.

Twitter: @JF_Davis_
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com