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VHA Leader Appointed New Acting VA CIO, Cussatt Departs

Dr. Neil Evans brings experience with health IT management and digital modernization to his role as VA’s tech executive.

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Dr. Neil Evans speaks during the April 2019 Health IT Modernization CXO Tech Forum
Dr. Neil Evans speaks during the April 2019 Health IT Modernization CXO Tech Forum. Photo Credit: GovCIO Media & Research

Dr. Neil Evans, previously the chief officer of the agency’s Office of Connected Care within the Veterans Health Administration, has been appointed acting CIO of the Department of Veterans Affairs Aug. 27. The position was previously held by Dominic Cussatt, who departed the agency for the Department of State.

A lifelong practicing physician with extensive background in managing large-scale health IT systems during periods of expansion and development, Evans’ appointment comes during a crucial period in VA’s digital modernization.

VA has invested considerable resources in its health IT systems over the past two presidential administrations with the intent of improving the delivery of care, including significant growth in the agency’s capacities over the COVID-19 pandemic. Evans was instrumental in guiding VA’s implementation of telehealth and remote care capacities, technological investment that proved crucial as Americans sought both physical and mental healthcare from the safety of their homes.

Evans also served as interim director of the Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization program office, the joint Defense Department and VA effort to deploy and implement a single common record across military and veteran health care facilities.

Throughout his career in VA technology leadership, Evans upheld his duties as a practitioner and dedicated two days each week to seeing veteran patients.

Much of Evans’ recent work has focused on encouraging technological adoption by both veteran patients and caregiving teams, including those throughout rural and underserved areas. As acting CIO, Evans takes on overseeing this modernization of VA health care and critical services that helps bridge the technological divide while providing a similar quality of care across all VA facilities.

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