John Bardis leaves cybersecurity post at HHS
John Bardis announced he is departing as HHS assistant secretary for administration effective April 5.
The founder and former CEO of MedAssets was appointed last year by former HHS Secretary Tom Price. Bardis said he always planned on serving only one year.
"It has been the privilege of a lifetime," Bardis said in a statement.
The post was one of the highest in command at the agency and was charged with oversight of maintaining security of the medical information of more than 100 million Americans. The office also is a liaison to the intelligence community.
"As assistant secretary for administration, Bardis initiated and led a number of ambitious efforts to rapidly advance the department's work in acquisitions, human resources and other critical management areas. Both HHS Secretary Alex Azar and I have been happy to see these plans bear fruit already," Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan said.
In the 2018 budget, HHS identified cybersecurity and privacy efforts as consuming 70% of HHS' information technology budget.
In fact, President Donald Trump increased the amount allocated to HHS for cybersecurity efforts. But the White House's efforts have been slow-going.
After Trump signed an executive order in May 2017 with the intention of strengthening the government's cybersecurity stance, deadlines for mandated reports from federal agencies passed unmet, and details on what else came of the order are slim.
Bardis said he is not retiring. "Having worked in the healthcare industry for decades, I can confidently say the priorities Sec. Azar has now identified for the department—drug pricing, affordability of insurance, the opioid crisis, and value-based healthcare delivery—are absolutely vital to building a healthcare system that works for all Americans. This administration has the potential to be revolutionary for American healthcare, and I look forward to supporting their efforts from the private sector," he said.
Bardis faced some heat last year, after Politico uncovered that Price had inappropriately used federal funds for personal travel. It was Bardis' office that approved travel along with the HHS general counsel. But while Price eventually resigned, Bardis continued with his work and did not face any additional accusations.
Bardis founded Alpharetta, Ga.-based MedAssets, a publicly traded group purchasing and revenue-cycle management company, in 1999. It grew it into one of the largest healthcare group purchasing organizations. He oversaw the firm's diversification into other areas, like revenue-cycle services, for hospital and health system clients.
He stepped down as CEO of MedAssets in early 2015. The firm later was acquired by Pamplona Capital Management for $2.7 billion.
He was recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Leaders in Healthcare from 2011 to 2014.
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