Former Louisiana representative tapped for health IT post at HHS, raising questions about ONC reorganization

Former Rep. John Fleming, R-La., has been named deputy assistant secretary for health technology at HHS—a newly created position that hints at a reorganization of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). Fleming told Politico that he thought he was interviewing for the coordinator position, but also said the deputy assistant secretary post is "the same or a similar position."

Earlier this month, advocacy group Health IT Now called for HHS to reevaluate the ONC's role, particularly when it comes to EHR certification. 

As a family medicine physician, Fleming has worked closely with HHS Secretary Tom Price in the past and expects to shape policies that improve physicians' use of health technology, according to The Times-Picayune.

"I just want to be a part of taking down the barriers that are preventing innovation," he told the newspaper.

Fleming's approach to technology aligns closely with that of Price, who has voiced concern about Meaningful Use requirements but also acknowledged the agency’s role in improving interoperability. Fleming pointed specifically to improving the flow of information between providers, reducing regulatory burdens for physicians and creating an environment that will foster competition among healthcare technology innovators.

RELATED: 10 things to know about new HHS secretary Tom Price

Fleming, who ran for Louisiana’s vacated Senate seat last year, added that he will “be at the table” as HHS determines how to apply any new regulations enacted under the Republicans' replacement to the Affordable Care Act.