Berwick Out, Tavenner In at CMS

Acting Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, resigned Dec. 2 after failing to garner support for appointment by Congress. Marilyn Tavenner, RN, the associate administrator of CMS, will take his place. She will still need a favorable vote from Congress before becoming the full-fledged administrator of the agency.

Tavenner rose from nursing supervisor to CEO, then to executive with health giant HCA and served as Virginia’s health and human services secretary from 2006 to 2010 before taking her CMS position. Described by colleagues as a pragmatic and skilled administrator, she enjoys a reputation for consensus building. “She’s not a political bomb-thrower. She is not going to be tossing political hand grenades,” Virginia state Senator Edd Houck told HealthLeaders Media. “I keep coming back to the same word, she is so pragmatic in working toward a mutual result that if folks would let that attribute come through they would find that she is a true professional.”

Berwick was nominated in April 2010, but never received a Senate confirmation hearing. Opposition to Berwick’s vision for health care reform is often cited for his failure to advance to a vote. Berwick came to CMS from Harvard’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement, for which he was the president and CEO.

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3 Responses to “Berwick Out, Tavenner In at CMS”

  1. Rita Ross says:

    It is a shame that one person can hold so much power over our health needs. Our physician’s and hospitals must abide to CMS. I understand that we need to make some corrections to our benefits but forcing them to use ICD-10 to collect more information about each persons health so that CMS can determine who to treat and who not to treat. ICD-10 does not benefit our health care, it is an unneccessary expensive to Physicians, hospitals and very expensive for the coders to learn. ICD-10 is truly not a health issue but a money making issue for some and a more government control over all our lives.

  2. Mary Jinkins says:

    I listened to an inteview with Mr Berwick yesterday. The man has great ideas and seems to have been penalized by the republicans for wanting to have a fair & equitable healthcare system for everyone. What we need is for politics to be ignored while healthcare coverage is figured out. Keep the $90 million donated by BCBS to campaigns out of the picture. What the non-government insurance companies are missing is that the proposal gives people the chance to choose what insurance they get.
    Maybe the members of the house & senate need to lose their insurance and other benefits like pensions that we pay for them. They earn enough to pay for their own insurance and they can choose the plan that fits their budget – just like those of us downstream from their political stupidity.
    Having a man like Mr Berwick in charge at CMS would make for a fair system for medicare & medicaid clients. He also has good plans/ideas for finding and stopping fraud.

  3. Brad says:

    Berwick made the worst mistake one can in our government: He dared to change an industry driven culture fueled by corporate money. Tavenner will be much more amenable to the status quo.

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