National Health IT Coordinator David Blumenthal Addresses 300 Government Contractors at Chamber's GovConNet Breakfast Forum

Posted Date: 
January 20, 2011

Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Dr. David Blumenthal – the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ national health information technology coordinator – and a panel of top federal government officials and industry experts today addressed the multitude of federal contracting opportunities available to businesses that are well-positioned to capitalize on the rapid growth of the health information technology arena.

Speaking at a Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce GovConNet Breakfast Forum in Bethesda, Van Hollen, Dr. Blumenthal and others highlighted key issues and challenges that the government is facing as it moves to implement health IT solutions that will transform the nation’s health care systems and strengthen the government’s ability to administer programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Congressman Van Hollen told the business leaders gathered: “We need you not just because you are the engine of economic growth in this community, but to ensure that as we move to a better health IT system, nationally, that the federal government has the firms to execute that process.” Van Hollen noted that Montgomery County was second in the nation among all counties for the number of businesses that sell goods and services to the federal government and number-one in the health arena, primarily due to the proximity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and specifically agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

“Almost 30 percent of primary care physicians now have basic EHR (electronic health records) systems, up 50 percent from 2008,” said Dr. Blumenthal. “We can now regard the coming of health information technology (HIT) and EHR-based care as an inevitability and plan accordingly. HIT presents significant opportunities for a place like Montgomery County. Adoption of EHRs benefits providers and patients. There are business opportunities for a rapidly growing industry, one that crosses the ‘health’ and ‘IT’ business sectors,” he added.

Addressing the enormity of the challenge of bringing the nation’s hospitals and medical practices fully into “the 21stcentury,” Blumenthal said: “Doctors and hospitals face difficult problems and challenges every day. This is another in a series of challenges that is part of their professional and ethical responsibilities.” Bringing the importance of health IT innovation to an individual level, Blumenthal noted: “All of us, at the end of the day, are patients or prospective patients. Both as business persons and as individuals, I hope you will all pick up on this important challenge.”

Panelists for today’s forum discussed the primary opportunities that exist in the federal contracting marketplace in the health IT arena. Speakers on the panel included: 

  • Mary B. Armstead, program director for the NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC);
  • Kevin Plexico, senior vice president of Research and Analysis at Deltek/INPUT;
  • Susan Penfield, senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton; and
  • Ori Reiss, president and CEO of Global Net Services.

Rich Wilkinson, vice president for Government Contracting at Deltek, served as master of ceremonies for the forum and Larry Davis, managing partner of Aronson Capital Partners, moderated the panel discussion.

MCCC Strategic Partners