Digital Health Modernization

Digital Health Modernization

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Virtual Event

Hear from federal agency officials about the policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the technological implementations and digital services that have helped support the country this year, and additional input on future health innovations.

Thursday, October 1st
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. EDT
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After spending nearly three decades practicing medicine in North Texas I have served the constituents of the 26th District since 2003 in the United States House of Representatives.

I currently serve on the prestigious House Energy and Commerce Committee as the Republican Leader of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, and also sit on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce. In addition, I am a member of the powerful House Rules Committee
As of the 115th Congress, I am the most senior medical doctor, on both sides of the aisle, serving in the House of Representatives. Because of my medical background, I have been a strong advocate for health care legislation aimed at reducing health care costs, improving choices, reforming liability laws to put the needs of patients first, and ensuring there are enough doctors in the public and private sector to care for America’s patients and veterans. I have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act over 50 times, and have played an important role in bipartisan efforts to reform the Food and Drug Administration.

Ever since I came to Congress, I have made repealing Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula a top priority. At the beginning of the 114th Congress, over ninety percent of both chambers of Congress supported the formula's repeal and it was signed into law. As one of the largest entitlement reforms in the past few decades, this landmark policy will ensure greater access and quality for seniors, more stable reimbursements for providers, and a more fiscally solvent Medicare system as a whole. 

As a member of Congress representing one of the fastest-growing areas of the country, transportation is also a top priority. In 2005, I successfully amended the Highway Bill to include development credits, design-build, and environmental streamlining. During my time on Capitol Hill, I have worked to build, maintain, and improve the safety of our roads, bridges, air service, and transit in the North Texas region.

As a fiscal conservative, I believe Americans deserve a federal government that is more efficient, more effective, less costly, and always transparent. I am a proponent of a flat tax and have introduced a flat tax bill every term I have served in Congress. I follow a strict adherence to the Constitution and oppose unnecessary expansion of the federal government’s control over the personal freedoms of Americans. Instead, I believe in giving people more control over their lives and their money. I am committed to reducing illegal immigration into our country and have taken action to ensure our borders are secure and our immigration laws are enforced. I strongly oppose any proposal to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.

During my time on Capitol Hill, I have earned a reputation as a problem-solver who seeks sensible solutions to the challenges Americans face and have received several awards including the Guardian of Small Business award by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB); the Spirit of Enterprise award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and the Taxpayer Hero award from the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste; among others. In 2013, I was named to Modern Healthcare’s 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders.

Today, I represent the majority of Denton County and parts of Tarrant County. I was raised in Denton, and attended The Selwyn School, graduating in 1968 as valedictorian. In addition, I graduated with both an undergraduate and a master’s degree from North Texas State University, now the University of North Texas.

I received my M.D. from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and completed my residency programs at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. I also received a master’s degree in Medical Management from the University of Texas at Dallas, and in May 2009 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center.

My wife, Laura, and I have been married for more than 40 years. We have three children and two grandsons.

Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health

Mr. del Vecchio is Director of the Office of Management, Technology, and Operations. In this role, works in partnership with SAMHSA and the Department of Health and Human Services to manage, provide leadership, and ensure SAMHSA's needs are met.

Previously, Mr. del Vecchio served as the Director of SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), providing executive leadership for Federal efforts to improve the nation's mental health service systems. This included management of the federal/state mental health block grant program and directing a range of programs and activities that address topics such as suicide prevention, children’s mental health, homelessness, disaster mental health, HIV/AIDS, and others. Mr. del Vecchio also previously served as the CMHS Associate Director for Consumer Affairs where he directed SAMHSA’s precedent-setting programs and activities that advanced consumer participation and education, a recovery orientation for the mental health system, peer support and the adoption of certified peer specialists, wellness and primary care integration, understanding of trauma histories and the social determinants of health and mental health, and led programs to reduce discrimination and prejudice associated with mental illnesses.

Prior to joining SAMHSA, Paolo worked for the Philadelphia Office of Mental Health in the areas of policy formulation and the planning of a comprehensive system of community-based mental health services addressing homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and many other issues.

A self-identified mental health consumer, trauma survivor, and person in recovery from addictions, Paolo has been involved for over 40 years in behavioral health as a consumer, family member, provider, advocate, and policy maker. He graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Temple University, has published widely, and is a highly sought after national leader and speaker. Paolo has been a leader in many Federal efforts including the Federal Advisory Planning Board for the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, the HHS Multiple Chronic Conditions Initiative, the HHS Living Community Initiative and numerous others.

Director, Office of Management, Technology, and Operations (OMTO), SAMHSA
Chief, Connected Health Branch, DHA
Deputy CIO, CMS

Jessica Weeden is a service designer with the U.S. Digital Service at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Serving as USDS team lead, Jessica and her team are partnering with CMS to modernize the Medicare payment processing systems that pay for the health care of 40 million Americans. Previously, she led design efforts to improve the asylum applicant experience with the USDS team at USCIS. Jessica specializes in helping organizations have a holistic view of the large, complex, fuzzy problem spaces they work in so they can identify opportunities and define a way forward.

Designer and USDS Project Lead for Medicare Payment System Modernization
Deputy Chief Data Officer, HHS
Deputy Assistant Director, Healthcare Operations, DHA
Director of Data Strategy & Analytics, GovernmentCIO
Vice President, GovernmentCIO



Welcome Remarks

  • Michael Hoffman, President, GovernmentCIO Media & Research


  • Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health
  • Moderator: Erin Mirsky, Senior Vice President, GovernmentCIO

Democratizing Public Health Data in the Federal Government

Data is extremely valuable for making well-informed decisions, but sharing data across government and with the public is challenging due to complex silos. How are agencies looking to improve the speed and efficiency of health data collection and management for timely public health responses, while also promoting public trust, patient privacy, and secure access to that data?

  • Kevin Duvall, Deputy CDO, HHS*
  • Christopher Priest, Deputy Assistant Director, Healthcare Operations, DHA*
  • Moderator: Jason Chong, Director of Data Strategy & Analytics, GovernmentCIO

Transforming Mental Health Care Services with Tech

COVID-19 has created a lot of stress for people, exacerbating symptoms for individuals with previously diagnosed health conditions, but has also amplified worry, anxiety and loneliness for those without prior histories of mental illness. Remote counseling services and expanded telehealth reimbursement policies, however, have proven vital for the health, safety and wellbeing of many during this time. In this panel, you’ll hear from federal health officials on how they’re addressing mental health issues, including substance abuse and suicide prevention, and how technology can help improve access and quality of care.

  • Mannan Dasti, CIO, NIMH*
  • Paolo del Vecchio, Director of the Office of Management, Technology, and Operations (OMTO), SAMHSA
  • Aaron Eagan, Deputy Director for Innovation and Program Development, VHA*
  • Dr. Simon Pincus, Chief, Connected Health Branch, DHA
  • Moderator: Orjiugo Hourihan, Vice President, GovernmentCIO

Updating Legacy Systems for Public Health Responses

The need for investments in modern infrastructure for timely public health responses has never been more apparent than today. Hear from federal health officials on how agencies are working with agility to upgrade their systems and process to better serve the public.

  • Col. Bobby Saxon, Deputy CIO, CMS
  • Jessica Weeden, Designer and Project Lead for Medicare Payment System Modernization, USDS
  • Moderator: Andrew Underhill, CTO, GovernmentCIO

Closing Remarks