Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Deputy Secretary Donald Remy is stepping down from his position on April 1, the VA announced.

Guy Kiyokawa, VA’s assistant secretary for enterprise integration, will serve as acting deputy secretary once Remy departs. The VA is working with the White House to nominate a candidate for deputy secretary as soon as possible.

“There is no greater mission than serving our nation’s veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors – and it’s been the honor of a lifetime to do that here at VA,” Remy said. “I thank President Biden, Secretary McDonough, and all of VA for this incredible opportunity. Most of all, I thank my fellow veterans for the privilege of serving them as deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs.”

Remy began his role at the VA in July 2021, and Secretary Dennis McDonough tapped him to oversee the agency’s troubled Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHRM) program.

He is the second EHRM leader to depart the agency this year. Terry Adirim, the program executive director of the EHRM Integration Office (EHRM IO), left on Feb. 25.

Before Remy took over responsibility for the EHRM project, it was temporarily overseen by Dr. Carolyn Clancy, who served as acting deputy secretary after then-Secretary Robert Wilkie fired James Byrne in February of 2020.

“Deputy Secretary Remy is a great leader, a true friend, and a steadfast public servant who has fought like hell every day for our nation’s veterans,” said VA Secretary McDonough. “He’s helped lead VA through the pandemic and to the point where we are delivering more care and more benefits to more veterans than ever before. We fully respect his decision to move on after nearly two years of unwavering service. It’s been an honor to serve alongside him.”

Remy oversaw the rollout of the EHRM program during a time of congressional scrutiny over program missteps and complaints from frontline staff. In 2022, VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports also revealed that deployment of the program had resulted in cases of patient harm and patient care issues.

Remy and Adirim’s departures come just months before the VA is scheduled to resume its rollout of the EHR system. The agency made the decision in October to delay further deployments of its Oracle Cerner EHR system until June 2023 to address concerns with the system, assess performance, and ensure it functions effectively for veterans and VA health care personnel.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.