Deputy VA Secretary Donald Remy told employees in an all-staff memo Friday that Adirim is leaving the VA to pursue other opportunities. Her departure is happening a few months before the VA is scheduled to resume the rollout of the Oracle-Cerner EHR.
The agency last year paused upcoming rollouts to address underlying issues with the system. The VA’s rollout of its new multi-billion-dollar EHR system has been fraught with issues.
VA last summer scrapped plans for the EHR to launch at several sites, after the VA’s inspector general office found the system led to instances of patient harm.
“From the initial deployment in 2020, VA’s EHR Modernization effort has been challenging for VA’s health care personnel and has not provided the enhanced outcomes for veterans expected,” Remy wrote. “Dr. Adirim has worked hard on resolving patient safety concerns, useability problems, and system reliability issues, working to ensure the system is set up to support our health care professionals in delivering great care to veterans. Through her efforts and leadership, VA has been making progress in these areas by improving standardization and usability of the system.”
Adirim left the Defense Department to join the VA in December 2021. Prior to joining VA, Adirim served as DoD’s principal deputy assistant secretary of defense (ASD) for health affairs.
Remy said Adirim “was well-suited to lead VA’s EHRM efforts with her prior experience at the Department of Defense (DoD), her extensive knowledge of health policies, medical expertise, and executive leadership.
Remy said Adirim played a “critical” role in deploying the EHR at four sites — Walla Walla, Washington; Columbus, Ohio; Roseburg, Oregon and White City, Oregon — within three months of starting her position at VA.
Until the VA finds a permanent leader for its EHR modernization office, Neil Evans, senior adviser to the assistant secretary for the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) and chief officer of connected care at the Veterans Health Administration, will serve as acting program executive director, starting on Feb. 27.
Remy said the VA expects the leadership shakeup will not interfere with the agency’s plans to resume EHR rollouts in June.
“VA is confident that Dr. Evans with his robust expertise can lead the EHRM effort in partnership with VHA, OIT, and our federal partners, continuing to implement and deploy the EHR as anticipated in June 2023,” Remy said, adding that he will continue to oversee EHR modernization efforts.
Evans has served more than 20 years at the VA. As the head of the Office in VHA, he has overseen VA’s major expansion of telehealth services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He’s also overseen veteran-facing capabilities, including VA’s patient portal, mobile program, and other initiatives connecting Veterans with their VA health care teams.
FedScoop first reported Adirim’s departure from VA on Friday.