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Veteran ONC official Cronin transfers to new agency

A veteran HHS official for interoperability at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is leaving the agency where she served as the first employee.

Kelly Cronin was the ONC’s first employee when then-President George W. Bush opened the office in 2004, and has been serving most recently as director of interoperability for healthcare transformation for the agency. She is taking the deputy administrator role at the Administration for Community Living, another agency under HHS, on Feb. 4. The agency has not named her replacement yet, according to an HHS official.

Cronin launched the agency’s first IT team and early programs as ONC charted a strategy to promote interoperable electronic health records. She led three offices, and headed the State Health Information Exchange program and Beacon Community Program — implementing both programs.

She also helmed the Office of Care Transformation and coordinated value-based payment models. She worked with states on the technology side of payment reform.

ONC official Donald Rucker in an email to agency employees praised Cronin’s tenure and “deep knowledge of health IT and healthcare writ large” as key to agency successes.

She also worked on elements of the proposed rule on interoperability and certification mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, and which the agency plans to release in April.