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What Happens to Federal Agencies During the Transition in Washington?

Change is in the air in Washington, DC.  With the arrival of the new administration, that change will be felt across the country and across the federal government. Let’s look at what will happen after Jan. 20 and how the transition will affect the many individuals in our government who work every day on our nation’s healthcare, the work we do each and every day at HIMSS, and how you might notice these changes in Orlando at HIMSS17.

Civil Servants Continue to Operate

As you might expect, when a new Administration comes in, staff changes over, but maybe not as much as you might think.  Across the government, thousands of civil servants will continue their work no matter the Administration.  Of course, there will be change over at the top of each federal agency, as well as various senior officials throughout the agency.  These incoming senior officials, along with the new team at The White House, tend to be the lead in setting the agenda for the agency. 

What happens while we wait for cabinet nominees and presidential appointees to be named and put in place, including those that will need to be confirmed by the US Senate?

Acting Agency Heads in Place

With the current political appointees leaving office on Jan. 20, each agency since the election has been working to identify individuals who will take on the role of acting agency or department head until the new political appointee can start,  whether the position requires Senate confirmation or not.  Over time, as various federal agencies have been created, Congress has required that the head of those agencies require Senate confirmation, while others don’t. 

For instance, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires Senate confirmation, while the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology does not.  A new National Coordinator has not been named as of January 20, and in addition, it takes some time to when a new Administration comes into office.

HIMSS17 Showcases Federal Agency Leadership

At HIMSS17, leaders of our nation’s healthcare system will speak to today’s pressing issues.  You can find a complete list here of all sessions involving government speakers.

There are two sessions showcasing federal agency leadership at HIMSS17, both on Tuesday, Feb. 21.  At 8:30 am in the Chapin Theater, Room 320, Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency, in a session titled, Military Medicine-Connected to the World, will share lessons gleaned from innovation incubators, and the Department’s investments in advanced product development. You will be able to learn how the industry can support military medicine and our national security.

For the second session,  Acting National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Jon White, and Director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality and Chief Medical Officer,  CMS, Dr. Kate Goodrich, will conduct a fireside chat titled, Value-Based Care Delivery: The March to MACRA and Beyond, at 5:30 pm, also in the Chapin Theater, Room 320.

Stay Update to Date on the Transition in Washington, DC

Stay up to date on the ongoing transition with the HIMSS Health IT Policy Update.  Sign up for the weekly updates. 

Keywords: 
government relations; healthcare; public policy