Dr. Blumenthal left his government post earlier this year after 2 years overseeing the federal government’s policy of expanding health IT use by physicians and hospitals. During his tenure, he presided over the implementation of the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which offers incentive payments for physicians and hospitals to use health IT to improve quality of care; the program began this year. We conducted a Q&A interview with Dr. Blumenthal at the beginning of his time as national coordinator. Check it out here. And learn more about meaningful use incentives here and here.
Now that he is back in the private sector, he has signed on to chair the Commonwealth Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health System. The commission has been in operation since 2005 and has produced a number of reports that lay out payment and system reforms aimed at improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of the health care system. Dr. Blumenthal takes over as chair from Dr. James J. Mongan, who died in May.
Dr. Blumenthal, who is a primary care physician, will have plenty of other doctors to keep him company on the commission. Among the commission’s 17 members are several physicians, including Dr. Christine K. Cassel of the American Board of Internal Medicine; Dr. Patricia A. Gabow, CEO and medical director of Denver Health, Dr. Neil R. Powe, vice-chair of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; Dr. Martín-J. Sepúlveda, vice president of Integrated Health Services at IBM; Dr. David A. Share of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; and Dr. Glenn D. Steele Jr., CEO of the Geisinger Health System.
Stay tuned to see how Dr. Blumenthal puts his stamp on the commission.
— Mary Ellen Schneider (on Twitter @MaryEllenNY)