HHS CIO Arrieta resigns mid-pandemic

José Arrieta oversaw the launch of HHS Protect, the system informing White House coronavirus decisions, but health experts protested the sidelining of the CDC.
Jose Arrieta, HHS
Jose Arrieta delivers a keynote Oct. 10, 2018, at the African Development Bank Group’s Global Public Procurement Conference in Washington D.C. (Global Public Procurement Conference / <a href=" ">YouTube</a>)

Department of Health and Human Services CIO José Arrieta has resigned after overseeing the launch of the system informing White House coronavirus decisions, according to a spokesperson.

Arrieta’s departure also leaves HHS without a chief data officer, a role he assumed in an acting capacity until one could be hired, amid the ongoing pandemic.

Arrieta managed the April creation of HHS Protect, a health platform compiling data from now more than 225 public and private systems to track and limit COVID-19’s spread. But the system recently came under fire from current and former members of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) for sidelining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an opinion letter sent to the New York Times.

CDC removed its National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) COVID-19 module from the federal process for collecting hospital coronavirus data, in a July concession to the White House. HHS procured a TeleTracking Technologies database based in Washington, D.C., to allow more hospitals to directly report requested data, which Arrieta argued would lead to more data elements being collected.


The move would also reduce duplication of effort and allow NHSN to focus on coronavirus reporting at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, told reporters at the time. But current and former HICPAC members wrote in their letter they were “extremely concerned” the “abrupt” change in coronavirus reporting would compromise data integrity by sending hospitals “scrambling” to adjust.

HHS did not comment on when Arrieta’s last day would be, the reason for his resignation, or what it means for the CIO and CDO roles he holds.

Arrieta has been in the role just over a year after serving in the HHS’s Office of Grants and Acquisition Policy for another roughly yearlong stint.

Federal News Network first reported Arrieta’s departure.

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