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GAO Appoints Three New Members to Health IT Policy Committee

WASHINGTON, DC (May 5, 2016) – Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of three new members to the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee.

The new appointees are: James S. (Jamie) Ferguson, who will fill the position representing payers; Carolyn Petersen, who will fill the position of an advocate for patients and consumers; and Karen L. van Caulil, PhD, who will fill the position representing employers.

“It’s important to have the input of key stakeholders in the development of health information technology policy,” Dodaro said. “A number of strong candidates expressed an interest in serving on the Committee, and the individuals being named today will bring highly valuable perspectives to the work of the Committee.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 established the HIT Policy Committee and gave the Comptroller General responsibility for appointing 13 of its 20 members. The HIT Policy Committee makes recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT on the development and adoption of a nationwide health information infrastructure, including standards for the exchange of patient medical information.

Brief biographies of the appointees are provided below:

James S. (Jamie) Ferguson is a Fellow of the Institute for Health Policy and Vice President of HIT Strategy and Policy at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California.  He is responsible for HIT policies and standards for Kaiser Permanente, and he previously managed the organization’s clinical and administrative data systems, including HIT standards.  Mr. Ferguson serves on the Board of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation and on the Business Technology Advisory Group of America’s Health Insurance Plans. He previously served on the ONC HIT Standards Committee, including as a member or chair of multiple work groups, including the Clinical Operations Work Group and the Semantic Standards Work Group.  Mr. Ferguson received his Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University.

Carolyn Petersen is Senior Editor for of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  She is a thirty-year pediatric cancer survivor and has served as a consumer representative for multiple groups, including the Food and Drug Administration’s Anesthesiology and Respiratory Therapy Devices Panel, the National Cancer Informatics Program, and the Improving Healthcare Systems Advisory Panel of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  Ms. Petersen is currently a member of the ethics committee of the American Medical Informatics Association and has published articles and presented on issues related to patient and consumer access to health information.  Ms. Petersen received a Master of Biomedical Informatics from Oregon Health & Science University.

Karen L. van Caulil, PhD, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Health Care Coalition, a business coalition on health representing 2 million individuals.   She is currently Chair of the Board of Governors of the National Business Coalition on Health. Dr. van Caulil is also adjunct faculty in the Department of Health Management and Informatics of the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Health and Public Affairs, and was responsible for developing UCF’s Regional Extension Center through 2011.  She was appointed by the Florida state secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration to the State Consumer Health Information and Policy Analysis Advisory Council.  She received her PhD in Public Affairs from the University of Central Florida.

For more information, contact Mary Giffin on GAO's Health Care team at (202) 512-7114 or Chuck Young in GAO's Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800, or visit the GAO Health Care Advisory Committees web page at


The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.