The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid announced last week that Tony Trenkle, the agency's chief information officer (CIO), is stepping down to work in the private sector. The timing would appear to be linked to the agency's messy launch of the online federal healthcare marketplace that was supposed to have been enrolling people on Oct. 1. Instead, after weeks of problems and stonewalling, the agency brought in a fixit-team that got the website back on track. To all appearances, the site looks like it will be functioning as promised at the end of the month.
Ticked off by the website fumble and looking for political leverage, Congress would have liked to see some big heads roll at CMS, even calling for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to step down. As a sacrificial lamb, if he is one, Trenkle can hardly be said to have been responsible for Healthcare.gov.
CMS development coordinator Henry Chao, together with CMS chief operating officer Michelle Snyder, who announced Trenkle's departure, were by several accounts more involved in key decisions that may have derailed the website. But a Washington Post report suggests Trenkle may have fallen down on security testing.
CMS did not comment on whether Trenkle's resignation was voluntary.