CMS Deputy CIO to Replace HHS CISO Departing Amid Controversy

Gil C/

Outgoing HHS CISO Chris Wlaschin has said his March 31 departure is for personal reasons, not a scandal over the department’s cyber center.

A deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will replace Health and Human Services Chief Information Security Officer Chris Wlaschin, who plans to depart at the end of March, a department spokesman has confirmed to Nextgov.

Medicare and Medicaid Deputy CIO Janet Vogel will rotate into the position during the course of April, the spokesman said.

Wlaschin’s departure comes amid an extended controversy over Health and Human Services’ fledgling cyber operations center, where the top leaders were removed from their posts last year over alleged contracting improprieties.

The center’s director, Maggie Amato, has since resigned and the former deputy CISO, Leo Scanlon, has been on involuntary leave for five months.

Wlaschin, who was overseeing the cyber center in Amato and Scanlon’s absence, told Nextgov in a Monday interview that his resignation is entirely for personal and family reasons and unrelated to disputes over the Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, or HCCIC.

In addition to oversight of the HCCIC, Vogel will be responsible for expanding Medicare and Medicaid best practices for protecting high value computer systems across the entire Health and Human Services Department, the spokesman said.

She will also oversee the continued implementation of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation and Einstein 3A programs, two Homeland Security Department cybersecurity programs that are being implemented at multiple agencies.

During an extended federal technology career, Vogel previously led Medicare and Medicaid’s Financial Management Systems Group and held tech positions at the Transportation Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“Janet brings 30 years of federal experience to the position with the last 16 years at CMS,” the spokesman said. “Her broad spectrum of skills in information technology, information security, organizational change, acquisition and risk mitigation will be key to transforming and expanding HHS’ cyber programs into the healthcare sector.”

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