HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced June 8 that he has accepted the resignation of David Brailer as vice chairman of the American Health Information Community, an HHS information technology advisory group.
It was reported two days earlier that Brailer, who served as the nations first national coordinator for health IT from May 2004 to May 2006, had founded a venture capital firm called Health Evolution Partners and it would be investing $700 million from the California Public Employees Retirement System.
"It is with regret that I have accepted Dr. Brailer's resignation as vice chair of the American Health Information Community," Leavitt said in a written statement. "For the past three years, David has served as a key counselor on health information technology both in this role and formerly as the national coordinator for health IT at HHS. I have truly enjoyed working with David to advance the president's health IT agenda and I wish him the best of luck."
In a telephone interview June 5, Brailer said he enjoyed serving with AHIC and planned to stay on as co-chairman as long as Leavitt wanted him to serve. In a follow-up interview after his resignation was announced Friday, however, Brailer said the decision to step down came after some "pretty intense discussions" midweek with lawyers in the Office of Government Ethics at HHS.
"It really wasn't a change of mind," he said. "I think the ethics lawyers read the way the ethics rules applied differently than the way I had or my lawyers and others had. You just don't fall back into the private citizen category as easy as you want to. In the end, it was a judgment call on how do you act with due caution."