CMS CIO Trenkle leaving for private sector

Thursday - 11/7/2013, 5:26am EST

Tony Trenkle, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief information officer, is leaving for the private sector.

In an email to staff obtained by Federal News Radio, CMS Chief Operating Officer Michelle Snyder said Trenkle will leave the agency Nov. 15 after almost eight years with the agency.

"As the CIO, Tony provided oversight and leadership to CMS' $2 billion annual expenditures on information technology (IT) products and services," she wrote. "Please join me in thanking Tony for his years of public service and wishing him great success in his future endeavors."

Snyder said Dave Nelson, the director of the Office of Enterprise Management (OEM), will serve as the acting CIO after Trenkle leaves. OEM serves as the agency's primary resource for development and coordination of strategic governance frameworks, execution, review, analysis, performance management and development of business requirements for enterprise level business solutions for CMS.

Trenkle's decision comes as CMS and Department of Health and Human Services officials are coming under increasing pressure about the roll out of the HealthCare.gov website.

It's unclear how much input Trenkle had in the development of the system. News reports suggest Henry Chao, who at one time was Trenkle's deputy and chief technology officer, is often cited as the lead technology manager behind the website.

Senate Finance Committee members today interrogated HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the portal's problems. CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner received tough questions on Tuesday about the site's cybersecurity from members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Trenkle in an interview with Federal News Radio in October 2012 said the Affordable Care Act gives CMS the opportunity to share services more easily. But didn't say he was in charge of the site's development.

He said CMS is leading an effort to develop the foundation for identity management, an enterprise portal, a master data management scheme and a business rules engine.

Trenkle started at CMS in 2005 as the director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services, where he was responsible for leading national programs for the development and implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and electronic prescribing standards.

He became CIO in December 2010 and oversaw the national operational infrastructure that supports CMS claims processing and other business services.

Before coming to CMS, Trenkle worked at the Social Security Administration where he oversaw the development and implementation of the agency's Internet on-line services for the public, including the first on-line retirement application. Prior to SSA, he was the General Services Administration's director of the Office of Electronic Commerce and the co-director of the Federal Electronic Commerce Program Office, where he led the federal implementation of standards and systems to support the first governmentwide electronic commerce initiatives including on-line procurement systems.

Along with Trenkle's move, Snyder said Niall Brennan, currently the director of the Office of Information Products and Data Analytics in the Office of Enterprise Management, will move into Nelson's role temporarily.

"Niall has extensive experience in working collaboratively across the enterprise since joining CMS in 2010, including regulation development, program implementation, advanced analytics and data infrastructure and governance," she wrote.

Snyder also announced Tim Love, the deputy center director in the Center for Medicare, now is the acting deputy COO.

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