“There is almost no health IT policy issue with which Jodi has not been involved over the past decade,” said Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the current national coordinator, in a note to the ONC staff.
DeSalvo lauded Daniel's work to ensure there was clear guidance on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act applied to health IT.
Daniel has also led ONC's Health IT Policy and Health IT Standards Committees, which make recommendations that drive HHS health IT policy.
She also was responsible for developing the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.
Dr. David Brailer, the nation's first ONC leader, appointed to the post by then-President George W. Bush in April 2004, first hired Daniel.
A health IT entrepreneur, Brailer said he was viewed with suspicion by “all the powers at be” at HHS. Daniel, meanwhile, had IT experience as the first senior counsel for HIT at the office of general counsel at HHS.
“Jodi was one of the people they sent to keep eyes on me,” Brailer said. “She didn't know you could have passion for things like health IT in government. It was interesting to see her convert.”
Daniel helped set the office on a strong legal footing within the government, Brailer said.
“We used the procurement system to drive contracts for (EHR) certification and for standards development. Jodi was the engineer on all of that, on how to walk it through and get all the officials to sign off on it.”
She also fought to help the fledgling agency secure funding when its budget was zeroed out by a cranky Congress, he said.
“When we did Katrina Health,” a unique-public/private interoperability project to assist displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 transfer their medical record, “she made sure we didn't cross any lines.”
“She was right there with every battle,” Brailer said.
“Jodi was just an essential member of the team and somebody I depended on through the entire time I was there,” said Dr. Robert Kolodner, who served three years as acting and ONC leader following Brailer. “She's wonderful and bright and in addition, she's really a nurturing and inspiring leader (who) helped to develop our staff. She's really a terrific example of a dedicated public servant.”
Daniel's last day at ONC is Oct. 9. She did not indicate where she was going. Her deputy, Elise Anthony, will become acting director of the Office of Policy.
Daniel leaves as Congress is discussing the future of the ONC program, including a call by HELP committee Chairman Lamar Alexander to substantially delay the start of Stage 3 of the program.